NAPLES, ITALY - Wednesday, September 7, 2022: Liverpool's James Milner looks dejected during the UEFA Champions League Group A matchday 1 game between SSC Napoli and Liverpool FC at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

James Milner nearing Liverpool exit with Brighton front-runners for transfer

James Milner‘s future at Liverpool remains unresolved, but with a transfer possible this summer, Brighton are among the clubs pursuing the No. 7.

One of six senior players whose contracts expire at the end of the season, Milner has been expected to hold talks over a one-year extension at Anfield.

But according to The Athletic‘s David Ornstein, there has been “no indication” the club will offer the No. 7 a new deal, despite Jurgen Klopp suggesting he would like him to stay.

That opens Milner up to follow Roberto Firmino, Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, loanee Arthur and possibly Adrian through the exit on a free transfer.

According to Ornstein, the 37-year-old is already attracting Premier League interest, with Brighton considered “favourites” at this stage.

The south-coast club are said to have “evaluated the matter internally and are determined to bring Milner to the Amex,” to provide “quality, experience, leadership and depth” as they enter Europe.

BRIGHTON & HOVE, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 29, 2023: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp makes a triple substitute bringing on captain Jordan Henderson, Darwin Núñez and James Milner during the FA Cup 4th Round match between Brighton & Hove Albion FC and Liverpool FC at the Falmer Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Burnley have also “shown an interest,” with the prospect of Milner working under former Man City captain Vincent Kompany and moving closer to his native Leeds.

Leeds, for that matter, have been continually linked with a move for their academy graduate, though former manager Jesse Marsch claimed in February that they had avoided the “easy” option in favour of building a young squad.

A previous report from Ornstein explained that, while the club were “yet to open contract talks” with their vice-captain, Milner was “keen to carry on playing and ideally to commit to Liverpool for a ninth season.”

Speaking in January, Klopp outlined his belief that, when it comes to Milner, Liverpool is “his club,” having landed at Anfield in 2015.

The manager did add, though, that: “We have different plans for Milly, but Milly wants to keep playing.”

James Milner (left) was substituted by Jurgen Klopp due to the effects of concussion in Liverpool’s win over Napoli (Nick Potts/PA)

Whether that hinted at hopes for a coaching role, or even a reduced contract as a player-coach, is unclear, but the veteran has remained a useful squad player in the second half of the season.

Since the return from the World Cup, Milner has played 18 times, including five starts, and he has been involved in 13 of the last 14 games in the Premier League.

However, his minutes have decreased in recent weeks, with it now two months since his last full 90, clocking only 80 minutes on the pitch across his last eight league outings.

A club like Brighton, who recently handed Adam Lallana a new contract beyond his 36th birthday, could provide Milner with a more prominent role as Klopp plots his midfield rebuild.