Date: 28th July 2008 at 8:44am
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The Mirror have an article this morning, along with several other papers, saying that Martin O’Neill is willing to offer Gareth Barry a new four year deal which could double his wages AND give him the option to leave next summer if Villa don’t break into the top four this season.

Sounds like a plan??!!

Barry has stated his desire to leave for Liverpool – which you’ll know unless you’ve been on holiday on planet Jupiter for the last few months – but the clubs remain at loggerheads over the fee. Villa won’t shift – quite rightly – from their valuation which has sent out a clear message to all clubs, we don’t want to sell our top players and if we do it will be at the price we set, not them.

With Liverpool now buying Robbie Keane from Spurs it seems highly unlikely that the debt infested club will be able to afford a similar fee for Barry.

O’Neill told the Mirror, ‘Everyone at Villa Park wants Gareth to stay. I would like him to stay and we could do an awful lot of things to try and ensure that. I will talk to Gareth first of all and we will do everything we can as he would be a terrible loss – very, very hard to replace.’

Adding, in what appears a compromise move, ‘My own view is that Gareth should hang around another year – if we don’t make the progress that he would want then he can move elsewhere.’

The Daily Star claim we’ll offer ‘£70,000-a-week four-year deal with an informal escape clause thrown in.’ He also has a dig at Liverpool who have dragged their heals on a fresh bid saying ‘It’s very clear we value him more than Liverpool do – he’s a top European player.’ Adding ‘It’s not my job to pick up the phone to them. The player belongs to us and Liverpool know the situation. I’m not thinking about Liverpool. I would like him to stay. He saw the reaction from the fans. It was incredibly positive.’

‘The clear message to Gareth is that everyone wants him to stay. We will do everything we can. Our position has not changed.’

John Carew said the other day, following the outstanding reception the Villa faithful gave Barry the other day (and Barry was clearly relieved as I could clearly see from where I sit just by the dug out) that the Villa fans had certainly done all they could to convince Barry to stay. Carew thinks it is 50/50 whether he’ll stay or go.