Roberto Mancini will fight off Aston Villa's shock move to bring back midfielder James Milner.
Villa’s new boss Alex McLeish is weighing up an offer for the England international . . . just 10 months after he left the club for Eastlands in a £24m deal.
McLeish has made no secret of the fact that he wants a creative force to supply ammunition for main striker Darren Bent.
And Milner supplied that creativity week in, week out during two successful stints at Villa Park, firstly on a season’s loan from Newcastle in 2005/06, and then a two-year spell after making the permanent move in 2008.
City boss Mancini has stressed the need for a strong squad as he prepares to push for glory in the Premier League and Champions League next season – and sees Milner as a key part of that.
However, the 25-year-old knows he is likely to spend a significant chunk of next season on the bench for City.
He started only 23 of the Blues’ 38 Premier League games last term – and the normally level-headed midfield man lost his cool after being substituted during a 3-0 hammering at Liverpool in April, making no attempt to hide his annoyance as he walked to the bench.
Mancini has since described Milner as “an incredible midfielder”, and he featured in all of City’s final five Premier League games – starting three of them – as they secured a passage to the Champions League group stages by finishing third.
He was, though, only an unused substitute for the FA Cup semi-final win over United and the final victory over Stoke.