The one that got away. That’s how Gareth Barry might view his chance to play for Liverpool over the next few seasons, with the chances of him donning the famous red shirt looking more remote by the day. While one can’t help feel a degree of sympathy for the Villa midfielder, it’s hardly a poor consolation having to stay in the Midlands and play for a team who can land a top six spot themselves and where you’re one of the side’s key players.
The Guardian report that Martin O’Neill has played a canny game all summer, demanding a hefty ransom for the player throughout the month of June, hoping that the price tag might be enough to stop Liverpool signing his captain. It now appears that with the Anfield club forking out £20million for Robbie Keane, the Villans manager has achieved what looked to be the unachievable.
“The clear message regarding Gareth is that everyone at Villa Park wants him to stay,” O’Neill said. “I will talk to Gareth first of all. Our position has not changed – like I’ve said before, we will do everything we can [to keep him]. The player belongs to us. Liverpool know the situation. It’s not my job to pick up the phone to them.
“It’s very obvious we value him more than Liverpool do. He’s a top European player. The price we are asking is true and realistic. I think it’s really, really cheap actually but that doesn’t mean I want him to go. But if he felt he wanted to leave he saw the reaction on Saturday – it was incredibly positive.
“It’s obvious that we have some serious work to do with regards to getting players in. But I’m still confident that we will make progress with it in the next few weeks.”
You would have to say that Gareth Barry is more likely to be an Aston Villa player come 16th August than a Liverpool one. He still has a bright future ahead of him, with Fabio Capello clearly rating the guy and the Villans likely to be featuring in Europe over the next few seasons. Liverpool fans, are you gutted to have missed out on this player or are you pleased that Alonso looks likely to stay instead?