Milner, Ings provide Reds with more options

Former Newcastle and Aston Villa player James Milner joined on a 'free' transfer from Manchester City last week, while it was confirmed on Monday that Danny Ings will move to the Anfield club after his contract at Burnley comes to an end.

From a financial perspective, both players seem to be astute acquisitions although they may not come quite as cheap as first thought. While no transfer fee was paid for Milner, he would have been paid a sizable signing on fee to join the Reds and will be on wages in excess of £100,000 per week. Less than he was reportedly offered to remain at Man City but a substantial lay-out nonetheless.

Burnley declined the nominal undisclosed fee Liverpool offered for Ings so a fee will in all probability be decided at a tribunal, where the record amount awarded for a selling club is the £6.5-million Chelsea was ordered to pay Man City for the signature of Daniel Sturridge five years ago. One would think a fee in that sort of range would be awarded in this case.

While both players may prove fine acquisitions to the Reds squad, the roles they will play – next season at least – are likely to be significantly different.

It has widely been reported that Milner chose Liverpool ahead of various other interested clubs after he was given a guarantee that he will form part of the first team, and, more often than not, in his preferred central midfield role.

Tipping the 29-year-old Milner as Steven Gerrard's replacement is somewhat wide of the mark – he doesn't possess the game-breaking ability the former Reds skipper did for most of his career – but chances are he will slot into the midfield position Gerrard occupied over the last few seasons. In all likelihood he will be alongside Jordan Henderson as part of a two or three-man midfield.

Just in case

At 22 years of age and with much less experience at the top level than Milner, Ings is expected to be a more of a squad option than a regular starter. While he is able to play alongside Daniel Sturridge (or another striker) or lead the line by himself, Ings faces competition from the in-coming Divock Origi as well as the out-of-favour Fabio Borini, Mario Balotelli and Ricky Lambert.

Whether Balotelli and Lambert will remain at Liverpool past the off-season transfer window remains to be seen but Borini is almost guaranteed to be sold. Even if Liverpool are ordered to pay something in the range of £7 million for Ings' services, they are likely to recoup that entire fee from the Italian's proposed sale. Additionally, the former Burnley player is likely to be on significantly lower wages than Borini, who is rumoured to be paid somewhere in the range of £80,000 to £100,0000 per week.

Putting the financial aspects aside, Ings also seems to be a more accomplished goal-scorer than Borini, who is more known for his work-rate than his ability in front of goal and has been deemed surplus to requirements.

That said, if Ings has been identified to fill the goal-scoring void left by the departure of Luis Suarez and the injury problems of Sturridge, then Liverpool fans are in for some more disappointment – he simply isn't that prolific.

However, if both Milner and Ings were signed the cheap so that more funds are available for the star signing or two Liverpool so desperately need, they are excellent acquisitions for the Merseysiders.

Barend Prins

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