Barry for Arsenal
Newspaper and website talk is heating up over the news that Arsenal and not Liverpool could be the destination of Aston Villa captain Gareth Barry. Barry was subject of massive speculation last summer, but Liverpool were not prepared to pay £18 million for the England midfielder.
Aston Villa will reluctantly let Barry leave after they reached a gentleman’s agreement last summer whereby if Villa failed to qualify for the Champions League, they would listen to offers and reduce their asking price. Liverpool, who last season were looking at selling Xabi Alonso to finance such a move, are reluctant to let Alonso leave this summer.
Last summer Wenger made tentative noises about Barry, but £18 million was too steep a price. Now a season on and with Barry having 12 months left on his contract, the price appears to be in the £10m – £12m bracket. At 28 years of age, Barry will have no resale value which has always been an important Wenger criteria when buying players, yet we let Edu, Wiltord and Kanu all leave on a Bosman.
Having dipped into the “senior transfer” market with the acquisition of Arshavin and seen the success and transformation that the Russian had on the team Wenger could be tempted with a bid for Barry.
Wenger acknowledges that our defensive department needs strengthening and Barry is the ideal candidate. He is strong, industrious, will work box-to-box, scores goals, will not shirk tackles, is a leader, has premiership experience and is hungry for success. Barry will be able to guide Denilson, Diaby and Ramsey to the next level. He will complement Cesc’s skills and will protect our defence.
Wenger should not hesitate; he should make contact with Aston Villa straight away and let his intentions be known publicly, this will force Barry into demanding a move from Villa.