Milner completes transfer

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MANCHESTER, August 19 – England midfielder James Milner completed his transfer worth a reported 26million pounds from Aston Villa to English Premier League rivals Manchester City on Wednesday, according to the buying club's website.Former Republic of Ireland midfielder Stephen Ireland moved in the other direction as part of the deal which has been on the cards for a while and saw Villa manager Martin O’Neill resign over a week ago as he was dissatisfied with the club continually selling their best players.

City had bought another of their midfield stars, English international Gareth Barry, in the close season last year.

City manager Roberto Mancini was delighted to have secured his sixth big money signing since the end of last season.

"I am very happy to have James with us, everybody knows we have admired him for some time," said Mancini, who replaced Mark Hughes last season and guided City to fifth in the league.

"He is an excellent midfielder, who can play in a number of positions. This is important for the team, and I am looking forward to seeing him play for us. We have a very strong squad, and this signing is a very important one for us.

"James is already a very good player, who has proved he can play at the very top level. But he is also young and a good character, I think he can also improve and be a great player for Manchester City for a long time."

Milner, who previously played for Leeds United and Newcastle United, played for England in their disappointing World Cup finals campaign and signed off his spell with Villa with a goal in their opening day 3-0 win over West Ham.

The 24-year-old is expected to make his debut for City in Monday’s game against Liverpool.

Mancini – who is under enormous pressure to mount a strong title challenge this season – had already signed Ivory Coast midfielder Yaya Toure, Spanish World Cup winner David Silva, German defender Jerome Boateng, Italian striker Mario Balotelli and Serbian fullback Aleksandar Kolarov.

Milner’s arrival takes City’s close season spending to around 120 million pounds.

Ireland’s departure had been predicted after he fell down the pecking order last season but Mancini paid a handsome tribute to the Irishman, who played 142 times for the club, scoring 23 goals.

"I hope things go well for Stevie at Villa. He is also a very good player, and he has played a big part in City’s history," said Mancini.

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