The slow progress Manchester City are making in agreeing terms with James Milner over a new contract has a raft of Premier League heavyweights on tenterhooks.
Arsenal and Liverpool are the main protagonists looking to land the England international for nothing in the summer, but with both currently housing players of a similar ilk, how does the real McCoy measure up to their would-be ‘Milners’?
The Citizens have often benefited from the Leeds academy graduate’s versatility and relentless work ethic and it’s these two attributes that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jordan Henderson inject into their clubs’ respective midfields.
They may not all predominantly play in the same position, but this statistical comparison reveals which club need Milner mark one the most.
With over 60 appearances between them, a combined three goals between them suggests providing assists is priority number one for the trio.
As is portrayed above, Oxlade-Chamberlain is some way behind in these stakes, teeing up just one strike so far.
His key pass average is the lowest of the three, as is his pass completion rate.
Arsene Wenger has often voiced his long-term vision to play the Ox as a centre-midfielder, but the weakest tackling mean of the threesome may prompt the Frenchman to realign this particular master plan.
Comprehensively besting his adversaries in the dribbling department, it appears the former Southampton man is best suited out wide.
This isn’t the case for Milner, who has the well-rounded digits to perform equally effectively in any midfield berth.
Characteristically, the Man City man would offer Arsenal plenty they’re missing at the moment, while he boasts ample experience of competing in high-pressure games both domestically and on the continent too.
In Henderson, Liverpool’s midfield already boasts a ‘Milner’ outperforming the original.
Their need to recruit the ex-Newcastle and Aston Villa star, therefore, is far less pressing than Arsenal’s.
Whichever club appeals the most to the player, 1/2 about him plying his trade elsewhere come the close of the coming summer transfer window looks an excellent price.