Former Newcastle Coach Says They Sold James Milner To Sign World Star
You might not remember James Milner leaving Newcastle United being big news but just as when the Swiss Army Knife footballer left Leeds it caused a huge uproar with fans of the club. And just eight years later his former coach has revealed why they sold him.
Milner was a teenage sensation at Leeds United and when the club hit financial difficulties they should have been looking to build the club around their young prodigy on low wages. Instead they cashed in on him for just £3.6 million. His stint in the North East was also a success but out of nowhere he was sold to Aston Villa for around £15 million.
The decision to sell the midfielder didn't go down well with Magpies fans at the time. It didn't help that they didn't sign anyone to replace the Villa bound player. But former Newcastle coach Terry McDermott revealed he and then manager Kevin Keegan were led to believe they would be signing Bastian Schweinsteiger as his replacement:
"The story goes - and this is a true story - we didn't want him [James Milner] to leave but we needed to get other players in because we'd had a bid of 15 million quid.
"Kevin said 'if we sell him for 15 million quid, how are we going to replace him?'
"They said 'we've already got one - Schweinsteiger'. He's at Man United now but seven or eight years ago he was a superstar and they said we could get him.
"The idea of accepting the bid of 15 million for Milner, which was a lot of money then, and then we're looking to get Schweinsteiger it's a no brainer."
Of course the then Premier League club actually got no where near signing the Bayern midfielder with McDermott adding, "But after he's signed for Villa - the day after - we're trying to sign Schweinsteiger and the answer was 'absolutely no chance, it will cost you £50 million if you wanted to buy Schweinsteiger."
So Keegan's side were left with no one to replace a player they didn't even want to see. He must have been heartbroken when he found out the German wasn't signing!