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Man City hoping to keep James Milner

Manchester City remain keen to keep James Milner despite the midfielder's wish to leave in order to play more regular first-team football, a source told ESPN FC.

Marcotti: What FFP ruling means
City 'will be profitable next year'

Milner, who has been linked with Arsenal, has a year left on his current contract at the Etihad Stadium and could leave on a free transfer in 2015 if no new deal is agreed and City do not sell the England international.

But the Premier League champions' preference is for the versatile 28-year-old to stay at the club he joined from Aston Villa for 26 million pounds in 2010.

Milner has become more important to City after their Champions League squad was reduced to 21 for next season after UEFA found them guilty of breaching financial fair play rules.

Goalkeeper Joe Hart, left-back Gael Clichy and Milner are the only three regulars in Manuel Pellegrini's current squad who qualify as homegrown players and City's current plans are to sign three more foreigners, in Eliaquim Mangala, Fernando and Bacary Sagna.

But while the out-of-contract defender Joleon Lescott is certain to leave and two other English players, Jack Rodwell and Micah Richards, could move on because of a lack of opportunities, City believe Milner represents a different case.

While he only made 12 league starts this season, and Pellegrini has proved reluctant to select him in the centre of midfield, Milner has featured frequently throughout his four years at the club, making 152 appearances.

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