James Milner
James Milner is wanted by Manchester UnitedGetty Images

Manchester United have made a shock move for Manchester City midfielder James Milner with Liverpool waiting in the wings, according to the Daily Mirror.

The 29-year-old has rejected an extension on his current contract, which expires this summer with the Citizens and is set to move out of the club for want of a more central role, something which he was not being afforded by City.

Liverpool have earmarked Milner as their Steven Gerrard replacement, with the veteran leaving the club in the summer after bringing an end to an illustrious career at Merseyside. The midfielder is likely to slot alongside Jordan Henderson and ply behind Philippe Coutinho, who has been their standout player in the recently concluded season.

It will be a massive coup for the Reds should they make it possible, given his arrival on a free transfer allows the manager to invest that money to address more pressing concerns at the back and up top.

However, with United stepping in, it will be a major task for Brendan Rodgers to convince the player to agree to a move to Anfield, especially with the Red Devils capable of offering him a higher pay package and also an entry into the Champions League, something Liverpool failed to achieve this season.

Moreover, the future of the Liverpool manager is currently in question after their shock 6-1 defeat at the hands of Stoke City on the final day of the season. The defeat has urged the owners to think about the club's long-term future and whether Rodgers is the man to take them forward in the long run.

Milner will seek assurances from Louis van Gaal over his starting role in the side. United are likely to make a lot of investment in the summer and may shun the former Aston Villa man to a more bit-part role, which he is trying to avoid at City.

The Red Devils already have Ander Herrera in midfield and are on the lookout for a holding midfield player to dictate the pace from the centre, a role which Milner would thrive in given a choice.