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· Proto-Hipster
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The 22-year-old midfielder has repeatedly been linked with Liverpool and Aston Villa since the end of last season despite being under contract until 2011, although no cash bid has been received from either.

Reds boss Rafael Benitez is understood to have offered three reserve-team players in exchange for the England Under-21 international, a proposal which was met with disdain on Tyneside.

Newcastle's valuation of a player for whom they paid £3.6 million when they bought him from home-town club Leeds during the summer of 2004 is thought to be worth considerably more.

However, the latest word from St James' is that manager Kevin Keegan is not looking to sell Milner, and that interest in Tottenham's Aaron Lennon is waning.

The Magpies could yet face a test of their resolve if Aston Villa do eventually succumb to Liverpool's attempts to attract Gareth Barry to Anfield, arming the Midlands club with a sizeable kitty with which to buy reinforcements.

Milner, of course, spent the 2005-06 season on loan at Villa Park after then Newcastle boss Graeme Souness decided he was not needed on Tyneside.

Indeed, he came within hours of completing a £5 million permanent move on deadline day in August 2006, only for Glenn Roeder to pull the plug on the deal when his own pursuit of Middlesbrough striker Mark Viduka came to an unsuccessful conclusion.

Milner missed the final nine games of the season with a nasty foot injury picked up at Liverpool on March 8, and like club-mate Steven Taylor, was rested from the England Under-21s' summer fixtures.

With Taylor close to agreeing a new, improved contract after more than a year of negotiations, the news that the club is keeping faith with some of its younger players will come as a boost to fans who are still awaiting developments on the summer transfer market.

There could be another departure within days as striker Shola Ameobi, having returned from honeymoon, has promoted West Brom tracking him.

The 26-year-old is expected to complete a move to the Hawthorns which could net the Magpies upwards of £3 million having being courted by Stoke and Ipswich already this summer.

He would become the fifth man, after Stephen Carr, Peter Ramage, James Troisi and Lamine Diatta, to head out of St James' so far this summer with no new faces as yet having been captured to replace them.

Keegan's return from holiday and the impending conclusion to the Euro 2008 finals could see an upturn in activity over the next few weeks, although executive director (football) Dennis Wise and vice-president (player recruitment) Tony Jimenez have been working behind the scenes for weeks in an attempt to act upon the wish-list they agreed with the manager at the end of last season.

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