We are now learning more of the James Milner saga, and it turns out he did not just ask for a transfer today, but requested the move on 20th August, which was last Wednesday, but Newcastle asked the PFA to keep quiet about it.
James Milner – unhappy at contract – asked for a move last Wednesday
And we believe that Kevin Keegan and the club knew all about this over the last week, and indeed the meeting today was probably to discuss the Milner case, as some of our readers have already suggested today.
And the news that Martin O’Neil was still looking to get Milner, although it seemed absurd to most of us, shows he knew exactly what was happening too.
Only the fans were in the dark it seems.
The meeting today was to discuss general transfer requests and contracts – and it seems like Michael Owen and James Milner contracts that were at the top of the agenda.
The PFA has revealed the Newcastle winger’s recent transfer request stems from a feeling that he deserves an improved contract. We know his agent has been trying to renegotiate with the club, but it looks like Ashley is unwilling to do that, for things to reach this stage.
It’s hard for us to give an opinion on this, but we would think his contract should be on a par with Steven Taylor and Charles N’Zogbia, since they are the same age, played about the same number of games for the club, and are similar in skills and value to the club.
This also doesn’t necessarily look good for Michael Owen either, because it could be that Ashley will also stand firm on Owen’s contract.
Milner’s wish to leave St James’ Park was made public today, although PFA deputy chief executive Mick McGuire has since let it be known that the request was made a week ago on August 20.
Newcastle released a statement today that shocked Newcastle fans to the core, but it looks now like they knew all about this for about a week, and explains Kevin’s glowing appraisal of James after last night’s game, in which Milner was MOM and scored a goal and made one.
Kevin said he didn’t even want to talk about Milner leaving, and these words now have extra meaning today, and were hardly a coincidence as we summized this morning.
Milner has repeatedly been linked with a move to Villa during the current summer transfer window.
A statement was released on behalf of the PFA by McGuire this afternoon, which read:
“The PFA, who represent James Milner, are disappointed that information regarding James’ request for a move, and the circumstances surrounding it, have come to the public’s attention, and we feel we have no option but to respond,”
“The facts are that James’ transfer request was actually handed in on Wednesday August 20, at which point it was asked by Newcastle United to keep the matter private.”
“The request was given because the player was looking for an improvement on his contract that reflected his development and his value to the club. There is a meeting between the owner and all relevant people at the club today [Wednesday] when we believed James’ request was to be discussed.”
“To clarify the situation, James did sign a contract 12 months ago. However this agreement was reached with the club nearly 12 months previous at the point in which Newcastle had agreed to sell James to Aston Villa on transfer deadline day 2006 before canceling the agreement at the 11th hour.”
“Since then he has played over 80 games for Newcastle United. All James wanted was a deal that reflected his development and that was in line with Newcastle United’s transfer valuation of him.”
We have to admit that two years ago the way they called James back from Aston Villa on the evening of August 31st, after he was about to sign for the Midlands side was shameful, at best. They did it because there was a hitch in the signing of Mark Viduka from Middlebrough, who now happens to be at the club.
But push now comes to shove for the Newcastle club and Mike Ashley, and we have a good idea whose side manager Kevin Keegan will be on, and Mike had better handle this siutation very very carefully.
The last thing we want to happen is for Keegan to come to the conclusion that Ashley doesn’t have the ambition that Kevin has for the club. And we know we are not the only ones who are a little worried about Kevin, in this situation.
That really would be a disaster, so we’ll not even think about that one.
At least the situation is now a lot clearer, not that we seem to have more facts.
There are a number of ways to think about this, and some think James is just too greedy , and maybe they think the same about Michael too.
We’ll make one point – if you are not willing to pay top wages for top players – you will never become a top club.
We think Kevin Keegan is probably as upset as anybody over this, and he’s now the one we are starting to be concerned about. 🙁
After all right now Kevin is Newcastle United, and he’s handled himself like a real gentleman under trying circumstances.
But that’s Kevin for you – and that’s why Newcastle fans love the man. Mike Ashley had better be very careful what comes out of the meeting today.
And he owes the Newcastle fans a club statement on what he is going to do, and we should demand that, and it should be released today.