Manchester and Everton have enjoyed a mutually beneficial transfer relationship in recent seasons, but it seems the Toffees could be about to get the shrewder end of the deal once more.
That’s if a report from the Mirror suggesting Roberto Martinez has already made ‘discreet enquiries’ into the availability of perennial Etihad substitute James Milner proves prescient.
Having previously sold Jack Rodwell and Joleon Lescott to the Citizens for remuneration said to be in excess of £34m, Merseyside has done far better out of the entente cordiale than Manchester.
In return, dictionary-definition stalwart Gareth Barry has found a home at Goodison Park on loan this term to excellent effect, following in the footsteps of Jo.
Barry has won 63 per cent of his starts for his temporary employers, who are 11/10 to sign off the season in style with victory at FA-Cup preoccupied Hull.
The Brazilian’s five-goal/12-game loan spell on Merseyside in 2009 was another example of Everton getting the better value for money in their dealings with City, with his Toffees tally five times what he managed in 21 showings for his then parent club.
Now Milner, signed from Aston Villa for £26m in 2010, may be poised to continue Bill Kenwright’s fine record of grifting the Premier League champions for all they’re worth.
In his final season at Villa Park Milner bagged 12 times from attacking midfield, but his move to City has most often seen him a bit-part player, if one who has earned the trust of successive managers thanks to his tactical nous and defensive discipline.
Nonetheless he has provided some notable star turns for his current employers, such as his man of the match showing in their 3-2 Champions League win against FC Bayern this term.
His creativity stands up to scrutiny too, despite the fact he is often employed as a tactical substitute with a defensive brief, starting just 14 of his 35 showings across domestic and European showings this term.
Of his seven assists, three came in 360 minutes of Champions League football, suggesting that the Toffees could be about to land of player of underrated quality, pulling off just the latest in a long line of coups at City’s expense in the process.