Liverpool have begun their bidding for Aston Villa captain Gareth Barry, according to Midlands’ newspaper Express and Star. They report a Â£10m straight cash offer was placed on Thursday.
Speculation over Rafa Benitez’s interest in the England international has increased in recent weeks and with the Reds’ season now having reached it’s outcome, Rafa has begun turning his attentions to summer signings as he looks to take the club above their fourth place finish.
27 year old Barry is close friends with Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard and the two of them impressed when selected alongside each other with England and both expressed their happiness to play alongside each other having first roomed with each other as youngsters on international duty.
Obviously Villa and manager Martin O’Neill do not wish to sell their captain and one of their player’s of the season but may be tempted by a large cash sum with the player having two years remaining on his contract. O’Neill said ‘œI desperately want to keep Gareth. That doesn’t just go for myself, but the players, the chairman and the fans. We’re going to do everything possible to keep him, but I’m not surprised people are chasing him.’
The Express and Star claim sources on Merseyside are “confident of getting their man”.
Some fans may question whether Barry is needed with an impressive array of talent in central midfield already on display at Anfield, but others may see him, Mascherano and Gerrard as the perfect triangle in Benitez’s 4-2-3-1 formation.
The arrival of Barry would most likely signal the departure of Xabi Alonso from the Liverpool squad, he is behind Mascherano and Lucas in Benitez’s plans and has had a somewhat poor season. Alonso is likely to be joined by several others out of Anfield, namely John Arne Riise, Harry Kewell and Peter Crouch.