Date: 16th April 2008 at 10:58am
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Martin O’Neill has told the Birmingham Mail that he wants to get influential Villa skipper Gareth Barry signed up to a new deal.

The England international midfielder has been linked to both Chelsea and Liverpool recently and the Villa boss wants to ward off their interest by giving him improved terms, especially as he only has two years left on his current deal.

‘Gareth Barry has played brilliantly this season. There has been talk about Chelsea coming in, but who knows? A manager is usually the last one to find out about events. What I do know is that all your good players are in the limelight and if they continue to be in the limelight you never know what could happen. We are trying to keep our best players otherwise it is a pointless exercise.’ Adding, ‘Gareth Barry has two years left on his contract and there’s a testimonial we want to do for him. Gareth is certainly one person we will want to sit down to talk to about a new contract. We would love to keep him here. He was unsettled two years ago when I came and said ‘let’s see how things go’.’

He also says that he is now playing some of the best football of his career but warns that you never know what players are thinking until you sit down and talk with them.

Players certainly hold all the aces these days don’t they? We really don’t want to send out the wrong signal and let Barry go though, if we want to break into the top four we have to act as a top four club and keep the very best players happy!