Barry Staying With Villa

Aston Villa have shockingly announced that club captain Gareth Barry will now be staying with the club...

The versatile 27-year-old rose to prominence last season and became a regular in Fabio Capello's England side.

Despite having played for Villa his entire professional career spanning a decade, the midfielder expressed his eagerness to move on towards the end of the season when Liverpool came calling, and the Brighton-born player's ambition of Champions League football looked like spelling the end of a memorable decade at Villa Park.

Liverpool's persistent pursuit drew much criticism, particularly from Villa manager Martin O'Neill, but many - he included - were as good as resigned to his exit many weeks ago.

However, the Reds failed to meet the demands of the midlands club and Arsenal even threatened to swoop as late contenders for the player as they look to replace Mathieu Flamini, who left for Milan on a free transfer this summer.

The saga took another twist on Monday when Robbie Keane signed for Liverpool from Tottenham Hotspur in a deal thought to be worth over £20 million in its entirety - more than Villa wanted for Barry.

The stumbling block was that the Reds had failed to offload Xabi Alonso - a midfield player in similar mould to Barry - to Juventus, who eventually pulled out of protracted negotiations and opted for the cheaper option of Sevilla's Christian Poulsen.

It was still expected that Rafael Benitez would make a push for Barry in some capacity before the close of the transfer window in a month's time but, according to Villa, the matter is now closed and the player is staying, despite having been suspended by the club following disrespectful comments about the manager in an unsolicited interview with a newspaper, a subsequent suspension that saw him absent from much of the Villans' pre-season training and most recently being booed onto the pitch by his own fans in a pre-season friendly.

"This evening, Aston Villa can announce that Gareth Barry will be staying with the club following the interest from Liverpool over recent months," read an official club statement.

"During discussions in the past few days, a final deadline to conclude this episode was set that all parties were aware of and agreed to. This deadline has now passed and so Gareth will remain with Villa."

Barry Staying With Villa Reviewed by admin Ucop on 12:19 PM Rating: 5

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