The Gareth Barry transfer squabble between Aston Villa and Liverpool looks to have finally meandered to a halt; any football fans whose cranium hasn’t imploded with the sheer endlessness of this transfer tale will surely be dancing in the street with unfettered joy.
The Times reports that Barry, a target for Rafa B all summer long, played in Aston Villa’s first leg Uefa Cup second qualifying round tie against FH Hafnarfjördur, meaning that he would be ineligible to play in the Champions League. The fact that Barry couldn’t be part of any of Liverpool’s initial Champions League games is surely a dealbreaker, and even more incriminating is the fact that Barry asked O’Neill to play him in yesterday’s game.
As large clouds enveloped the tops of the nearby mountains here last night, the future of Gareth Barry with Aston Villa at last became a lot clearer. Barring a last-minute change of heart, it would appear that he is staying with the club he has served for the past ten years. The projected £18million deal with Liverpool seems dead.
As if to signal his decision – although he has yet to voice it publicly – he played a leading role in seeing off the weak challenge of FH Hafnar-fjördur in the first leg of Villa’s Uefa Cup second qualifying round tie. He scored one goal, made another and directed operations from the left of central midfield with authority.
That Barry started said a lot. By asking Martin O’Neill, the Villa manager, to let him play, he made himself ineligible to represent another club in the Champions League until the knockout phase in February. Dare Liverpool resurrect a deal for a player unavailable in Europe? Hardly. (The Times)
The Times does offer one final crumb of hope for Liverpool; if the Reds slip up to Standard Liege – then Barry’s ineligibility in Europe would instantly become irrelevant.