James Milner’s protracted move to Manchester City could be concluded this weekend, Aston Villa manager Martin O’Neill has said.
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After leaving the England international midfielder out of the Villa squad for Friday night’s friendly with Valencia, O’Neill said an end to the summer-long transfer saga would be welcome.
"We didn’t play him primarily because there could be something happening in terms of the transfer," O’Neill said following the goalless draw with the Spaniards.
"I thought it would be the best thing to do not to play him in case something develops over the weekend or Monday or Tuesday.
"I think there’s been fresh contact. I couldn’t tell you whether there’s been a renewed offer.
"I think there is something in that there now, yes (getting it concluded quickly). I agree.
"I think that’s for everyone’s benefit really, it’s probably time to get something done if it’s at all possible.
"And I think that was the aim anyway when the teams were talking.
"But I’m unable to furnish you with further details at this moment."
Villa rejected a £20million bid from City for Milner in May and put a £30million price tag on the versatile former Leeds and Newcastle midfielder.
City boss Roberto Mancini is still keen to sign Milner and O’Neill believes developments could be imminent as talks between the clubs are ongoing.
Reports suggest Stephen Ireland could be used as a make-weight in the transfer.
But whatever the details of the transfer, O’Neill appears keen for the negotiations to come to a conclusion, despite again losing one of the club’s better players to City following Gareth Barry’s move last summer.
O’Neill added: "I think losing your best players at the football club would obviously cause you a headache.
"That’s a problem, it’s a problem because you’re trying to build something and something like this happens.
"It happened obviously two seasons ago with Gareth – a few seasons ago now – the two years ago when it didn’t get resolved and I’m not so sure anyone wants to go down that route again."
O’Neill confirmed left-back Nicky Shorey was on the verge of a move to West Brom.
"Nicky has gone over there for a medical," said the Villa boss.
"I know some fee had been agreed but like anything else until it’s all done and dusted these days you never know.
"It seemed that everything was in place at the time."