Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Lerner tries to stay optimistic about Barry

Transfer Speculation

Randy Lerner is optimistic Gareth Barry will remain at Aston Villa say’s today’s Guardian. “We have discussed a new contract with Gareth" said Lerner. "I would give Barry the highest ranking possible. He is the best. He is a gentleman, a great player, a pleasure to be around, a leader, a great captain.”

However the next comment appears to reveal a more realistic evaluation of the situation:

“Am I optimistic Gareth will stay? Yes, I am optimistic. It is my nature.”

Whilst today’s Daily Star says “Manchester City and Spurs are in a £12m head-to-head battle for he player”. Whilst using no actual comments from either club or manager, the article goes on to speculate that “Barry is set to quit Aston Villa after the club failed to qualify for Champions League football next season, and he is wanted by both Mark Hughes and Harry Redknapp. The 28-year-old would prefer a move to either Liverpool or Arsenal – but at the moment neither club are showing interest in the England midfielder. City would easily splash the cash for Barry and double the £45,000-a-week-deal he is currently on. Hughes wants to rebuild his side and knows that he needs characters and players he can rely on. Redknapp has always been an admirer of Barry and nearly bought him for Portsmouth a couple of seasons ago for £5m. He would not be able to match the wages that City can offer, but Spurs’ bright finish to the campaign could entice Barry. But Villa manager Martin O’Neill will still do everything he can to keep his senior star if a Champions League team does not make a bid. He has repeatedly said he could understand Barry leaving if one of the big four again made a move for him, but unless that happens he will try and persuade him to sign a new deal. Kop boss Rafa Benitez is still unsure as to whether to make another bid for Barry, but his hand might be forced if Xabi Alonso insists on quitting Merseyside. Real Madrid have shown interest in the Spanish midfielder and there was speculation over the weekend that the former Real Sociedad star will put in a written transfer request.”

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