This week Liverpool made what is arguably the first big move of the transfer window by bringing James Milner to the club on a free from Manchester City.
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Milner, though he is not glamorous, is a fantastic player. There isn’t much he cannot do and he will certainly be missed by City fans next season for more reasons than just their home grown quota taking a knock.
There has been a feeling that Liverpool fans aren’t too happy with the deal, though, as if they are already growing impatient with the search for Steven Gerrard’s replacement.
But the fact of the matter is, Liverpool won’t replace Steven Gerrard. They can’t. Sure, they could spend an exorbitant amount of money on a player to fill his boots – and they’ll probably have to do that anyway – but player’s like Gerrard are few and far between.
What made Gerrard was so special, was that not only was he a supremely talented player, but he also embodied the club. The fans loved him because they knew that every kick was for them. He hurt as much as they did when the team lost, and every call up he received to the England team represented the city as much as it represented the club.
What’s more is that they grew him. Gerrard cost Liverpool nothing in terms of fees, and you won’t find many begrudging him his salary, no matter how high it rose.
Milner won’t replace him, and neither will Jordan Henderson, but they can find ways of getting on without him, but for now, fans should not put so much stock on who they can buy to take over. It’s likely that the kind of player that can won’t want to join them anyway as they’ll already be at one of Europe’s top club’s, protected by an enormous fee and safe in the knowledge that they will be playing Champions League football next term.
Many have pointed to how much he’ll cost in wages, drawing comparisons to when they brought in Joe Cole for his ill-fated loan. But Cole had pre-existing injury problems before he joined, and his star was already beginning to fall. Milner’s isn’t, they’ll almost certainly get their money’s worth from him, even if he is 29.
So Reds fans should take Milner’s signing for what it is – a good piece of business. The 29-year-old is a consummate professional, he will play regularly, and he will chip in with his fair share of goals and assists. Considering he came on a free transfer, that’s a very shrewd move.