Manchester City have reportedly offered James Milner a four-year, £165,000 a week deal that he might reject. All of those words in one sentence is an incredible thing. Thankfully, to make sense of it all, we have obtained a transcript of Milner’s negotiation with Man City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak.
Khaldoon Al Mubarak: OK, James. You’ve played more this season, as you requested, and to further show how important you are to us, we’re prepared to offer you £165,000 a week for the next four years. What do you say to that?
Milner: Wow. That’s a lot of money.
Al Mubarak: Haha! so is that a yes?
Milner: No, it’s too much. What would I do with it all?
Al Mubarak: Too much? Money? Too much money? What does that even mean? Is this a joke, James?
Milner: I only joke about airplane food and polar bears.
Al Mubarak: So you really don’t know what you would do with more money?
Milner: Well, I’m sure I could put it in various accounts and invest it and such, but that just seems like a lot of trouble to look after it all.
Al Mubarak: I suppose we could give you less then.
Milner: But then I might not have enough money for all the things I want to buy.
Al Mubarak: What types of things do you want to buy?
Milner: Werther’s Originals, mainly.
Al Mubarak: I can assure you that you’ll have plenty of money to buy all the Werther’s Originals you can eat, no matter what we decide upon, James.
Milner: Still, I’d like to be sure. There’s nothing worse than going to buy a package of Werther’s Originals and not having enough money to do it. That’s never happened to me, but I imagine it would be bad. I imagine that quite a lot.
Al Mubarak: OK, then what do you want, James? More money or less?
Milner: I don’t know. I think we have an old fashion impasse in negotiations here, don’t we?
Al Mubarak: No, I don’t think we do, James. I’ve never heard of a negotiation where the employee couldn’t decide whether they wanted more money or less. This is almost certainly the first time that has ever happened.
Milner: Well, I’m not giving in.
Al Mubarak: Giving in to what? You haven’t even told me what you want!
Milner: Losing your cool, are you? And my agent didn’t think I’d be any good at this negotiation business.
Al Mubarak: Maybe I should just talk to your agent, James. Who is he?
Milner: A polar bear. No, I’m just kidding. It’s James Milner. I’m my own agent.
Al Mubarak: …
Milner: See — it’s a classic impasse.