These days, high-profile transfers rarely go through without some or all of the partyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s involved becoming upset, angry or frustrated. Looking on it is always difficult to see who is in the wrong. Invariably, the player involved gets the blame.
The probable transfer of England international midfield player Gareth Barry from Aston Villa to Liverpool took another twist yesterday when Aston Villa manager Martin O’Neill said that Gareth Barry can leave for Liverpool if the Anfield club meet their valuation of him.
It is reported that Liverpool had a second bid of Ã‚Â£13million turned down two weeks ago and believed that Villa will only sell for Ã‚Â£18million.
“If Liverpool meet our valuation, he will have his express wish to leave Villa Park granted,” said O’Neill yesterday
Twenty-seven year old one club man Barry criticised his beloved Aston Villa for not battling hard enough to keep him. In fact, Barry remarkably claims that his boss hasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t spoken to him since the end of last season and since the Liverpool transfer saga began. Can that possibly be true?
Barry is quoted as saying, “Villa kept saying they wanted me to stay but I have not heard from the manager for weeks. It’s seven weeks now since the season finished but while the gaffer’s found time to be a pundit at Euro 2008, he hasn’t found the time to speak to me. Have Villa offered me anything to try to persuade me my future is at Villa Park, not Anfield? Not a thing.”
Martin OÃ¢â‚¬â„¢Neill has expressed surprise and barely concealed anger at the comments made by his current skipper. “The chairman and I were surprised at Gareth’s comments,” he said. “Contrary to what he said, we desperately wanted to keep him, and he knows that.”
Barry has made it quite clear to OÃ¢â‚¬â„¢Neill and the Villa board that he wants to go to Liverpool. Rafa Benitez is hoping to sell Xabi Alonso to raise some funds for the purchase but he has no firm offers in place.
It is believed that Liverpool will make a higher offer and that it will be accepted as BarryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s position at Villa Park has basically become untenable. That is a fact recognised by Barry who said, “There’s no going back, it’s time for me to move on. I’m desperate to play Champions League football and that’s why I have to leave VillaÃ¢â‚¬Â.
This whole transfer saga has had a sour taste to it since it started. Liverpool made no secret of their desire to sign the player and Barry made no attempt to deny the rumours. Steve Gerrard spoke publicly about his wish for Barry to join him at Anfield.
Martin O’Neill has been publicly critical of Liverpool’s pursuit of Barry, suggesting that in a round about way, they had Ã¢â‚¬Ëœtapped him upÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ in much the same way Sir Alex Ferguson has accused Real Madrid of doing with Cristiano Ronaldo.
Barry has made his desire to move quite clear now and I suggest OÃ¢â‚¬â„¢Neill wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want to keep him, whether he had previously wanted to or not.
If the Liverpool boardroom feud between Hicks and Gillett kicks off again and the funds for the move are not forthcoming then I canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t really see how the broken bridges between OÃ¢â‚¬â„¢Neill and Barry could be mended. He really does have to move on.
There are two questions that scream out from this saga at me demanding to be answered. Firstly about the nature of transfers and secondly about the qualities of Gareth Barry.
The first question is whatever happened to a club deciding they wanted to buy someone and approaching that club with a view to gaining permission to talk to the player. The playerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s club then decided whether to grant permission or not and things went from there. It seemed a pretty workable system and a fairly civilised way of doing things. When did it all become the unseemly and embarrassing bun fight into which it has now developed?
The second question is perhaps even more difficult to answer. Is the twenty-seven year old English international midfielder Gareth Barry a better player than the twenty-six year old Euro 2008 winning midfield player Xabi Alonso?
Will the replacement of Alonso with Barry take Liverpool to the next level where they can realistically and seriously challenge Manchester United and Chelsea for the Premiership?
They are both fine players but I must be missing something if Barry is deemed to be significantly better than Alonso.
Can anyone answer either of my questions?
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