Incoming Potters boss targets out-of-favour City veteran.
Mark Hughes will reportedly make Manchester City midfielder Gareth Barry a prime target if he joins Stoke City as expected.
The Potters could confirm the appointment of Hughes later today, and the Welshman has already drawn up a list of potential signings for the upcoming summer transfer window.
The former Queens Park Rangers boss will not have as much money available to him as he is perhaps used to, but is hoping to win over the Stoke fans quickly with a big name signing, and England international Barry has been identified as a realistic target.
The 32-year-old is likely to be cleared out by Manchester City this summer, as they also look to appoint a new manager in Manuel Pellegrini, who will be tasked with reshuffling a squad that failed to win any silverware this season. Kolo Toure, another squad player, has already been allowed to leave for Liverpool.
Barry is one of many names likely to be shown the door, with a new central midfielder said to be high on Pellegrini’s list, but this will be welcome news for Hughes, who was the man that brought Barry to City from Aston Villa in 2009.
Central midfield is a position that needs strengthening for Stoke as well, with Hughes unconvinced by his current options of Glenn Whelan, Steven N’Zonzi and Charlie Adam, who were all disappointing in a difficult season for the Potters, who found themselves in something of a surprise relegation battle.
Despite his dip in form in a difficult year at City, Barry is still a regular in the England fold, and has shown on occasion that he still has plenty to offer as a Premier League midfielder. With just one year remaining on his contract at the Etihad Stadium, he could move for cheap this summer and prove a bargain signing for Stoke, who would benefit greatly from his experience and pedigree.
Barry was an ever-present player in City’s title win in 2012, and has proved a good signing for the club – certainly one of the better players brought in by Hughes during his time there as manager.
Hughes was panned by the press for his signings at QPR last summer, as he was seen as bringing in ‘reject’ players from the top sides, but he will be hoping Barry does not fall into this category when he enters the transfer market this year.
Another player of a similar status being linked with Stoke is Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner, who is certainly available for transfer this summer after being farmed out on loan by the Gunners for the last two seasons.