Which is why our £20m bid took me by surprise. As Danny wrote, our making a formal bid implies some level of contact between MCFC and James Milner, and an indication of interest from the player. Not every indication of interest leads to final agreement - Samuel Eto'o and John Terry both indicated sufficient interest to MCFC last summer to induce formal bids from us for them, though neither decided to join. But our bid certainly reflects a flicker.
This flicker of interest was further revealed yesterday by Milner's comments in an interview on England duty, where he declined the opportunity to commit his future to Villa:
"I want to finish my career, go into my trophy room and see winners' medals," he said. "I've enjoyed my time at Aston Villa, it's a great club to be at and we are moving forward in the right direction ," Milner said. "Do I expect to be at Villa next season? I don't know. I've worked as hard as I can and concentrated on club football while the season has been on. Now it has finished, I'm focusing on England - and that's the only thing I am focusing on. To be linked with any clubs is flattering but I'm just concentrating on England at this time."Now, this is some way short of what the papers call a 'come and get me plea.' But it's not nothing. I remain unsure whether or not Milner will join us this summer. I am more confident of it, though, after reading these comments than I was before. That said, if Chelsea are as interested as The Sun say they are, then he's as good as theirs. Either way, it's time for Garry Cook to get back on the phone.