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Page last updated at 11:38 GMT, Friday, 29 August 2008 12:38 UK

Aston Villa seal Milner transfer

James Milner
Milner began his career as a 16-year-old with Leeds

Aston Villa have completed the signing of winger James Milner from Newcastle for a fee of 12m.

Milner, 22, who spent the 2005-6 season on loan at Villa Park, has signed a four-year deal and becomes Martin O'Neill's eighth signing of the summer.

The England Under-21 international signed a four-year contract at Newcastle last summer but handed in a transfer request last week.

Milner may go straight into the Villa side against Liverpool on Sunday.

Keegan insists the move was his decision

Newcastle boss Kevin Keegan admitted it was difficult to let Milner leave, but insisted it was a move sanctioned by him.

"He's a player, in an ideal world, you would not want to lose, but I just want to make it absolutely clear that at the end of the day, it was my decision to sell him," Keegan said.

"We got an offer that I feel was his value. We are all aware James has had a difficult time - he almost signed for them once before and was dragged back.


"But he has always behaved impeccably. He's a fantastic professional, and there's no doubt about it, they've got an outstanding player and we have got to move on."

Villa tried to buy Milner two years ago, but the deal fell through at the last moment after Newcastle failed at the time to sign Mark Viduka.

O'Neill was delighted with the acquisition, however, and said: "James has got a great spirit about him and I definitely think his best years are in front of him.

"It was disappointing two years ago not to sign him when we thought the deal with done and dusted but it is nice to have got it all sorted this time."

The Irishman is confident of another signing before the transfer deadline and added: "We are going to try and do something else if we can. The club owner Randy Lerner has been fantastic with his support.

"We've decided to give things a real go this summer and I am pleased with the players we have got in - plus managing to keep Gareth Barry."

see also
Milner transfer demand sparks row
27 Aug 08 |  Newcastle
Coventry 2-3 Newcastle (aet)
26 Aug 08 |  League Cup
O'Neill upset over Milner episode
01 Sep 06 |  Aston Villa

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