James Milner's protracted transfer from Aston Villa to Manchester City is finally set to go through on Thursday after the two clubs agreed a package worth about £26m.
Stephen Ireland – whose agent today held talks with the Villa chief executive, Paul Faulkner – will sign for Villa as part of the deal, providing he reaches a settlement with City over the remainder of his contract.
Ireland has been valued at £10m, meaning that Villa will receive a further £16m in cash in addition to the former Republic of Ireland midfielder. Should Ireland pull out of the transfer – there is no indication that is likely to happen at the moment despite Martin O'Neill's resignation yesterday – Milner will move to Eastlands in a straight cash deal.
That's about what I'd been expecting. People that thought £26m + Stephen Ireland were coming our way will be disappointed, but honestly that deal sounded too fantastic to be true. This is solid value, and while I'm not as enamored with Ireland as many others, he's a solid addition.
This is probably as good an outcome as we could have reasonably hoped for. I might have preferred a straight cash swap, but Ireland is a useful player. Now to see if any of this money is re-invested in the squad. I'm thinking yes, but certainly not all of it unless we see some more movement in the coming days and weeks.