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O´Neill tells Reds to meet Barry asking price

SoccerNews in English Premier League 3 Jul 2008

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Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill told Liverpool on Thursday to meet his club's asking price for want-away England midfielder Gareth Barry.

None of Reds boss Rafael Benitez's four separate bids for Barry have so far met their Premier League rivals' asking price of 18 million pounds (36 million dollars).

O'Neill, who has resigned himself to losing his club captain, fined Barry two weeks wages, some 80,000 pounds, on Wednesday after his skipper suggested the Villa boss was more interested in commentating on Euro 2008 for the BBC than talking to him about his future.

Former Northern Ireland midfielder O'Neill, who barred Barry from pre-season training, told Villa's official website, www.avfc.co.uk: “We are really disappointed that he (Barry) is not going to be with us, he has made his mind up to go to Liverpool.

“You can talk and you can talk and talk but the bottom line was that when he came back from the England game in Trinidad and Tobago, he told me he wanted to leave.

“When somebody says they want to leave a football club, there is not much else you can do about it.

“We had a meeting a few weeks before that, Randy (Lerner), myself, Gareth and his agent and he said that Champions League football was what he wanted to do.

“So this idea that we have not done anything in our power to keep him, I am afraid I totally and utterly disagree. Why on earth would we not want to keep our very top player at the football club when we're trying to improve?

“I think we have made steady improvement, we have gone from 16th to 11th to sixth in the league. This season we are going to try to push on from there. So the one thing you want to do is keep your best players.”

He added: “But Gareth has made his position clear and after that it is straightforward. We have put a valuation on him and Liverpool value him differently at the moment. That is what the stalemate is, it is nothing else.

“Gareth has pointed out he wants to go and if Liverpool come up and meet our valuation, he will go. That has been the case since the beginning of June when Gareth said he definitely wanted to go to Liverpool.

“We put a valuation on him and we have based this valuation on a number of straightforward issues, not least that he is actually a top-quality player.”

Better news for Villa came with defender Curtis Davies joining the club on a four-year contract from local rivals West Bromwich Albion after spending last season on loan from the Hawthorns.

Davies missed most of the last campaign with a ruptured Achilles tendon but is now looking to make his comeback during Villa's clash with newly-promoted Albion on September 20.

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