Round 4 Goes To O'Neill
Benitez claims O'Neill understands his plans for Barry and that they will be speaking again shortly. Not quite true.
The comments from the Liverpool manager sparked quite a response on the forum, with some fans wondering if we were being lied to.
Things have only intensified since Rafa spoke to the Mirror this morning.
Afterall if MON had spoken to Rafa and plans were discussed the......well the mind boggles.
This little conspiracy angle is probably what Rafa was hoping for though. Continuing to conduct business in the open is designed to achieve a response, and it did - from Martin O'Neill when speaking to the E&S.
"I`ve never denied Rafa Benitez called me. That`s always been there.
"I did get a call about 20 days ago. How else would I know?'
Ok so it clears that one up, but seriously who missed the fact O'Neill knew, then was upset at Liverpool leaking their interest. There had to be a call otherwise he'd have dismissed the original reports as a normal rumour from the press.
"He says we had a private chat and he knows everything about my ideas and I know everything from him.
"The thing is - I didn`t have an idea.
'Well, apart from the idea of getting him off the phone as I was going to a reserve game at the time.
"His idea was to ask about Gareth Barry and I said: 'No.`
"I said I`d need to speak to the chairman (Randy Lerner) and I`d assume he (Lerner) would be of the same opinion as me, and he was.
"Without taking breath Benitez then started talking players in a possible swap. He was racing way beyond me.
"He`s now deemed there to be on on-going dialogue for three weeks. It is simply not true.
"He`s called me twice - the second of which was on the Friday and only after I`d rang to complain his bid was in the local newspaper the very next day.
"By that time I still had not had time to speak to my chairman.
"I haven`t enquired about his players. He mentioned players.
"He was a million miles from where I was coming from and it`s nonsense to suggest I knew everything and that so did he.
"And if he`s now saying nothing will happen until the end of the season, then why did he phone me?"
So we can summise this, from Rafa's comments as well.
Benitez covered buying Barry, then talked about swops to save some money. That was his idea.
MON said No, but had to confirm with the Chairman who he presumed would back him up and say No also. That was his idea.
3 weeks may have gone, 3 weeks of silence doesn't equal a deal being done or an ongoing negotiation.
The fact Rafa keeps going to the press implies he knows O'Neill isn't interested, if he stood a chance of getting Barry he'd be quiet now.
I'll finish with a comment from Rafa himself:
"He was very clear so we must wait until the end of the season and then we`ll try again."
And I'll type it differently:
'He was clear. (he said no, wanted to check with Lerner who he knew would say no also)
'So we must wait until the end of the season and then we we'll try again.'
Don't read we as Villa, Liverpool. The 'we' is purely Liverpool and him. They must wait till the end of the season and they will try again - probably with the same response from O'Neill.