Orta tight-lipped over possible Milner return

Leeds United
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has hinted that the versatile James Milner could be in line for a new contract at the club.

Leeds United director of football Victor Orta is giving little away amid speculation Liverpool midfielder James Milner could return to the club.

Orta spared few details when questioned over Milner and a possible return to his native Yorkshire at the end of the season, as Leeds’ director of football discussed the club’s January transfer plans.

Milner, 33, began his career with the Whites before spells with Newcastle, Aston Villa and Manchester City.

Currently in the final year of his contract with Liverpool, the former England international hinted last month that turning out for his hometown club once again would be “amazing in so many different ways”.

But when the subject was put to Orta today, the transfer chief remained coy. “No, no, I don’t say anything about the names,” he said.

The ex-Middlesbrough sporting director warned that the upcoming transfer window would not be a busy one for Leeds. The Championship-promotion chasers landed six loan targets in pre-season, among them Ben White, Helder Costa and five-goal Eddie Nketiah, and any move for Milner would have to wait until the summer and could hinge on if the Reds offer him a new deal anyway.

Much may also depend on whether Liverpool end up winning the Premier League this season and therefore tempting the veteran star to go out on a high, while if Leeds manage to finally secure promotion he may also be eager to return to Elland Road to pull on the white shirt once again in the top flight.

Meanwhile, according to reports, Leeds could be poised to bring in goalkeeping cover, with the threat of suspension hanging over first-choice Kiko Casilla. The Spaniard is accused of allegedly racially abusing Charlton’s Jonathan Leko, back in September’s defeat to the Addicks.

On-loan Lorient stopper Illan Meslier – another of Leeds’ summer acquisitions – and youth keeper Kamil Miazek are both yet to feature this season but are boss Marcelo Bielsa’s only back-up options at present.

After tasting play-off heartbreak last season, the Whites sit third in the Championship after 16 games this time around, two points behind leaders West Brom.

They travel to out-of-form Luton on November 23 and will then face Reading at the Madejski three days later.