This article forms part of our Profit Players feature series, which is where Football Transfer Tavern takes a look at how well a player has fared since being signed or sold, using statistical figures and statements from pundits to prove how good of a deal the club managed to achieve.
Newcastle United signed a fresh-faced teenage James Milner from Leeds United for £6.6m all the way back in the July 2004.
His debut season on Tyneside saw him play in 39 games in all competitions, scoring one goal and making one assist, according to Transfermarkt. By the end of the term, after a fairly disappointing goal and assist return, Milner’s market value slumped to £4.95m and he was shipped on loan to Aston Villa in the following campaign.
Graeme Souness, the manager of the Magpies at the time, identified him as a weak link in his team, claiming that “we’ll never win anything [at Newcastle] with a team of James Milners”, as per The Chronicle.
Milner played in 31 matches in all competitions at Villa Park in the 2005/06 season, netting three times (via Transfermarkt). His market value dropped again to a record-low £4.23m after his loan spell at Aston Villa, but that did not stop him wielding a fine career for himself.
Back at the Toon following his loan spell, Milner made a further 95 appearances in all competitions, managing to net 10 goals and provide 12 assists (per Transfermarkt), as he earned himself a permanent move to Villa for £13.5m in August 2008, giving Newcastle a quite tidy profit of £6.84m.
Was Milner a success at Newcastle?
The Englishman has since gone on to win the Premier League title three times, twice with Manchester City and indeed in the last campaign with Liverpool, while also winning the Champions League trophy with the Reds, beating Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham 2-0 in the all-English final last year. [via Transfermarkt]
Perhaps the best years of the now 34-year-old were not seen at St. James’ Park, but Milner certainly yielded a tidy profit in the northeast and Magpies supporters can always claim that the Premier League and Champions League winner once played for their club.
Geordies, what is your best memory of Milner at Newcastle? Comment below with yours!
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