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Sep 2010 15

The James Milner saga has rumbled on for much of the summer but it finally seems as though he is to leave Aston Villa for Manchester City.

A £26m package is said to have been agreed between the two parties, with Villa getting money plus Stephen Ireland for the England midfielder.

Milner was clapped off by the Villa fans when substituted in their 3-0 over West Ham in their first game of the Premier League season, during which he scored, with many believing it would be his last game for the Midlands club.

However, rumours had suggested that the 24-year-old was considering staying at Villa Park and that he could be on the plane to Austria to take part in their Europe League qualifier against Rapid Vienna.

And his move to speed up negotiations as well as pay off his volleyball betting debt has paid off with City boss Roberto Mancini offering Milner a lucrative long-term contract that will see him double the wages he earned at Villa.

Milner has travelled to Manchester for a medical and takes Mancini’s spending over the summer to even greater heights following the big-money captures of Yaya Toure, Jerome Boateng, Alexsandar Kolorov, David Silva and Mario Balotelli.

City are 6/1 to win the Premier League for the first time, with Milner likely to challenge Adam Johnson and Shaun Wright-Phillips for a place on the right side of midfield.

Meanwhile, the switch could be completed in time for Milner to feature in City’s next Premier League outing, which they are 11/8 to win at home to Liverpool on Monday.

For Villa, manager Kevin MacDonald will have to make at least one change to his starting line-up for the game against Rapid Vienna.

They are 11/10 to pick up a useful victory in the away leg, with Gabriel Agbonlahor the 5/1 favourite to score the first goal.

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