More creative than Fabregas and Di Maria: Why Manchester City must keep James Milner

Manchester City Etihad

With James Milner's Manchester City future in jeopardy following a stall in contract negotiations, the following statistic shows he warrants a new deal.

According to the Telegraph, James Milner's Manchester City future could be under threat with talks over a new contract at a dead end.

Milner publically expressed his desire to stay at the Etihad after City's Champions League triumph over Roma last week, as he said: "There are talks going on so hopefully it will be sorted soon. I just want to contribute as much I can because there are a lot of games during the season."

Those comments were echoed by manager Manuel Pellegrini, who asserted that a new contract for the player was virtually a done deal. Nevertheless, recent reports suggest that little progress has been made on negotiations which started over three weeks ago, despite Milner being one of the club's most influential players this season.

In spite of past criticism, the former Aston Villa man must be applauded for his tenacity and incredible work rate, as well as his drive to succeed for both club and country. 

Having made a rocky start to life at the Etihad, Milner has made himself an integral part of the club's plans, under each and every manager he has encountered. This term he has made 14 Premier League appearances in total, and a further six in the Champions League, missing just two of the club's domestic fixtures.

Interestingly, looking at the Opta stats, there is one key attacking area that sees the England international stand out from the rest.

Of the Premier League players to have made for than five appearances this term, Milner has fashioned a key pass most regularly. This sees him create a chance for City more often than the division's leading playmakers - the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri, Stewart Downing and Angel Di Maria. 

  TeamAppearancesTotal Att Assist MINSMins Played
James Milner Man City 14 23.75 760
Cesc Fàbregas Chelsea 15 26.54 1,327
Samir Nasri Man City 11 26.79 777
Stewart Downing West Ham 15 26.98 1,349
Ángel Di María Man Utd 11 27.03 838

If Manuel Pellegrini is still searching for a reason to re-sign the 28-year-old, this should prove sufficient. Not only is Milner the club's most creative player - based on these measures - but he also holds the top spot in the English top flight - an admirable feat. 

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