James Milner will not be moving to Aston Villa during the transfer window and may remain with Newcastle United on a long-term basis.
Martin O'Neill, the Villa manager, came to within an hour of signing Milner on August 31 but the deal fell through. Milner, the England Under-21 midfield player, had travelled to Villa Park to sign the appropriate forms.
Speculation was rife that Newcastle did not want to hand Milner to Villa because O'Neill had previously turned down the opportunity to manage Newcastle.
Milner, now 20, enjoyed a loan spell with Villa last season. He played 27 Premiership matches and became a popular figure among supporters.
However, O'Neill's attempts to take the player back to Villa Park fell on stony ground — and now Newcastle appear to have ended any chance of a deal being revived.
Glenn Roeder, the Newcastle manager, rates Milner highly and is pleased that the player never moved to Villa.
"Everybody knows James Milner almost went to Aston Villa at the 11th hour in the last transfer window," Roeder said. "And there is a lot of talk, especially in the Midlands, that that is where he will be going in January — but not as far as I and the chairman are concerned.
"We have played 30 games this season and James has been involved in just about all of them. As a result, he is getting the one thing he always wanted — regular first-team football.
"And, in any case, why should James Milner want to leave Newcastle United? He is seeing at first-hand the progress we are making, and that we are slowly but surely changing our squad for the better.
"He has played such an important part in our recent good form with some excellent crosses which have brought some really good goals."
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