Brighton have emerged as contenders to take James Milner away from Liverpool on a free transfer, David Ornstein has revealed.
Milner is approaching the end of his contract at Liverpool, like fellow midfielders Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Arthur Melo. Of the quartet, Liverpool’s vice captain has appeared to have the best chance of staying.
Despite being 37 years old, Milner is still an important squad man due to his leadership. Therefore, reports have indicated that Jurgen Klopp would favour offering him a contract renewal.
However, an update by Ornstein for The Athletic has revealed that Liverpool ‘have given no indication of offering a new deal’.
Therefore, other clubs are already looking at the veteran midfielder. And according to the report, Brighton are ‘determined’ to win the battle to sign Milner.
Because they play in the same league as Liverpool, they are not yet allowed to negotiate with the former England international. However, as soon as his contract expires at Anfield, they will be on the case.
A move to the Amex Stadium for Milner would see him follow in the footsteps of Adam Lallana, who left Liverpool on a free transfer to join Brighton in 2020.
In this case, Brighton believe Milner’s experience would be beneficial if they manage to qualify for a European competition. As things stand, they are eighth in the Premier League table, four points behind Liverpool with two games in hand.
Burnley battle Brighton for James Milner
They are not the only suitors for the former Leeds product, though. A move to Burnley could alternatively be on the cards, per the report.
Burnley will be back in the Premier League next season after winning promotion from the Championship. Crucially, their manager is Vincent Kompany, who used to be Milner’s teammate at Manchester City.
Milner and Kompany shared a pitch 140 times together for Man City. During the former’s time there, he only made more appearances alongside Joe Hart and Yaya Toure; they are two of the 13 players overall to have ever had more shared minutes with Milner.
Geographically, a move to Burnley would be less drastic for a player who has played in the north west since 2010.
But if Brighton have European football available, they would represent a higher level to play at than Burnley. That said, Roberto De Zerbi’s plans would still only be to use Milner as a depth option.
Truthfully, he might have to settle for such a role wherever he goes next, just as he currently does with Liverpool.
Milner has made 326 appearances across his Liverpool career, more than for any of his previous clubs. He has played 37 times this season, either in midfield or at full-back. But only six of his 25 Premier League appearances have been starts.
The midfielders he might be competing with for Brighton could be Moises Caicedo, Alexis Mac Allister, Jakub Moder, Billy Gilmour and Pascal Gross. However, Caicedo and Mac Allister are attracting interest from bigger clubs, with the latter in particular one to keep an eye on for Liverpool themselves.
Indeed, Liverpool are looking to add new energy into their midfield this summer. Their task will be to replace the likes of Milner, Keita, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Arthur with more reliable options for the long term.