Liverpool FC have today responded to various newspaper reports which suggested co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett had blocked Rafa Benitez’s pursuit of Gareth Barry due to them questioning the players’ worth and therefore undermiming Benitez.
The statement, released on the official website on Saturday evening, suggests the club are not willing to pay Aston Villa’s price tag for Barry.
The statement reads:
“There has been a lot of comment today regarding our position with regards to Gareth Barry.
“This is not about questioning the Manager’s judgement or the ability of a particular player. The owners have clearly demonstrated throughout the year they are willing to back Rafa in the transfer market and will continue to do so.
“It is obviously the selling club’s prerogative to put whatever price they want on the player, but on this occasion Liverpool think the price quoted is too high.”
Villa have been holding out Â£18m for their captain, a valuation many feel is far higher than the player is worth. Villa seemingly based their value on the price for Javier Mascherano, despite Mascherano being several years younger than Barry and arguably a much better player.
Benitez, after the Lazio game on Friday, had told the press “We have not been able to bring in Barry but it is not a question of money, I don’t know what it is.” The releasing of this statement by the club it is now clear the problem is not financially but in how the player is valued – whether that is how Benitez or the owners value Barry is still unclear.
Benitez added “We need to improve if we can and I think we need another player, because clearly we have problems on the left. I have sold [John Arne] Riise, [Harry] Kewell has gone, [Fabio] Aurelio is injured and [SebastiÃ¡n] Leto didn’t get a work permit, so we need another left-sided player. I cannot say now who that will be but Barry can fill that position and play in others, too. The rules will say we need four English and four associated players and Barry is English, who can play in three different positions, but I cannot say any more. All I can say is I will try my best but I don’t know too much why we haven’t signed Barry.”