As Liverpool’s interest in this star performer appears to have reached a stalemate, Arsene enters the race in an attempt to beat Rafa to the punch.
Aston Villa boss Martin O’Neill has confirmed that Arsenal have hinted they may enter the race to sign midfielder Gareth Barry.
Over the weekend, The Gunners were linked with making an offer for England international Barry, with right-back Justin Hoyte potentially involved in the deal as part-exchange.
And O’Neill has revealed that Arsene Wenger’s assistant manager Pat Rice spoke with the club, intimating that Arsenal could be set to step up their interest in Barry as they look for a replacement for Mathieu Flamini.
“Myself and Steve Walford both know Arsene Wenger’s assistant Pat Rice,” O’Neill told The Sun.
“He phoned Steve to ask how the Liverpool thing had gone and said that they might show an interest.
“At the end of the conversation Arsenal said ‘that’s fine’ and that they’ll let us know. That is exactly what happened.” (Sky Sports)
Rafa Benitez appeared to have the Villa skipper in the bag, but Martin O’Neill has held firm and is asking for more than Liverpool are ready to offer for the England man. Barry could fit in well at Arsenal and, given the 27-year-old’s desire to further his game and secure Champions League football for the first time, his ambitions could be just as easily fulfilled at the Emirates than at Anfield. Wenger therefore has a pretty good chance of running the Merseyside club close for the Aston Villa man.
Could Pat Rice’s connections help seal the deal? It’s obvious that O’Neill isn’t best pleased with the manner in which Rafa has conducted himself, and maybe he would consider a deal from north London instead, as it does appear fairly certain he is ready to let Barry leave. Do Arsenal fans see Gareth as a good addition to their starting eleven or are there other more suitable players to chase?