James Milner completed a reported £12M move to Aston Villa today, and said he always felt undervalued at Newcastle.
One word on the fee, £12M is probably the highest amount reported, and it varies anywhere from £9M to £12M with Newcastle getting 80% of the fee, and Leeds, who had a sell-on clause with James, getting 20%.
Milner became frustrated at Newcastle’s failure to offer him a new contract over the summer, which was continually being reported in the press, which James felt would better reflect his worth to the club.
In order to try to push the situation James handed in a transfer request last week, but Newcastle seem to have basically granted the transfer, and no contract negotiations ever took place over the last 10 days.
Villa moved swiftly to agree a fee for the England Under-21 winger, who has now signed a four-year contract which ties him to Villa until the end of the 2011-2012 campaign. But he was tied to Newcastle until 2011 yesterday.
Milner spent the 2005-2006 season on loan at Villa from Newcastle and came close to signing for them in August 2006 before Newcastle pulled the plug, at the very last minute, which was hardly the way to treat a 20 year old.
Milner said after signing for Villa today:
“I enjoyed every minute at Newcastle. It was a fantastic club. I enjoyed working with the manager and they are a great bunch of lads.”
“But I knew offers had come in over the summer and the club had turned them down and the valuation of me wasn’t reflected in the deal I was on.”
“Speaking to them, I felt it was the right thing to put in a transfer request to show how I felt, seeing as they didn’t think they were on the same wavelength as me and they then made the decision to sell me.”
“It was Newcastle’s decision and now I am at Aston Villa. A new contract was never discussed. That was a source of frustration.”
“I nearly signed two years ago. That was a tough time for me and Villa as well. It obviously threw their plans into turmoil. That was a tough time.”
“You learn from that and you move on and, two years later, I am sure I am a stronger character and a better player for those experiences.”
“The fee had been agreed. I came down here to the training ground and got into the manager’s office and he said he had a phone call to say Newcastle had changed their mind.”
“At first I didn’t know if it was the manager’s humor and whether he was joking with me but it wasn’t a joke. That is in the past and it is how you react to those sort of things.”
“The best way I know is to get my head down and work hard. I went back to Newcastle and did as well as I could.”
Milner then paid tribute to the Newcastle manager, Kevin Keegan:
“He has been fantastic with me all the way through. I had a great relationship with him, learnt a lot and wish him every luck.”
“We talked a few times and last night, once the fee had been agreed, he wished me every luck in the world and that is it basically.”
“Things change quickly in football. All I know is the offer has been accepted and I’m a Villa player now and the Newcastle chapter is ended.”
James is such a mature man for his age, and he was one of our favorite players at Newcastle.
But James has been class right to the end, and we can tell Aston Villa fans, that not only are they getting a very good 22 year-old player, but he’s most of all – a fantastic lad.
We wish James all the best at Villa.