Villa plan last-ditch Barry talks

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Villa plan last-ditch Barry talks

Post by sulehri on Mon May 12, 2008 10:25 pm

Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill and chairman Randy Lerner are to join forces to persuade Liverpool target Gareth Barry to stay at the club.



The duo will hold talks in the next 48 hours in a last-ditch attempt to keep the midfielder at Villa Park.

O'Neill said: "I'm going to see the chairman in the next couple of days with a bit of luck and the two of us might be able to persuade him to stay.

"I say persuade him - but he still has two years left on his contract."

Liverpool have made a players-plus-cash offer for the 27-year-old, reports of which angered O'Neill who claimed the Merseysiders had undervalued Barry.

Reds boss Rafael Benitez retorted last week by saying that he had discussed the idea of a transfer with O'Neill "20 days ago" and the row threatens to turn ugly.

"I wouldn't want to be saying how confident we are of keeping Barry. We will see," added O'Neill.

"All I know is he has never expressed one iota of unhappiness in my time at Villa Park. He might not have stayed that long had he been really unhappy before.

"Gareth is a demi-god at Villa Park. He has that reputation and he's playing for England and he hasn't had to move to another club to do that.

"He has been particularly brilliant for us. We want to improve the team and our best chance of doing that is to keep our best players and add some quality."

O'Neill has criticised Benitez's approach for Barry, but the Liverpool manager insists he has done nothing wrong in making known his interest in the midfielder.

"I think the right approach when you want to sign a player is to talk to the manager," Benitez told BBC Radio Merseyside.

"I was talking to Martin O'Neill. I said we would like to sign Gareth Barry and asked what the situation was.

"He just said he needed to talk to the owner and I said OK. He will not have any problems with his supporters because he never said to me he wanted to sell Barry.

"We were also talking about Liverpool goalkeeper Scott Carson because they have the option to sign him.

"We were just talking about football so why he was so angry, I do not know.

"I have been very clear. The player had said before that he wanted to play Champions League football. We knew that and so tried to sign a good player.

"If your captain wants to leave, it is a problem, but that's football."
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