Writer: Mike Field
Date:Sunday August 3 2008
Olof Mellberg has urged Villa to keep hold of Gareth Barry and if you read between the lines Melly is also attempting to remind Gareth that MON has stuck to the promises already made.
We've been through this on the forum, what was Barry promised when he decided to stay when Pompey were interested and O'Neill first joined the club.
England regular, Europe and a club builing towards breaking the top 4 and the Champions League.
Even the most cynical of fans cannot deny those promises have been met.
So many are left wondering why Barry doesn't give us that 'extra' season to see what happens before deciding he wants to sit on the bench of another club and gain the odd Champions League run out.
On Wednesday we all know about the 'Deadline' statement, yet it appears Barry and his agent despite agreeing initially to it, still want Liverpool to have more time.
Liverpool, despite a few unsourced reports in the press, have stayed remarkably quiet of late - to their credit this time.
After the barrage Liverpool have taken over their behaviour during this stance, it's interesting to see that the few unsourced reports about the 15 min late bid etc (furiously denied by the club and never officially commented on by Liverpool) have enough of an air of 'journalistic licence' to create a new story about them to give you doubt that Liverpool were to blame on that score.
What it all means, even though I think we accept Liverpool have been in enough contact with the agent to get round the deadline, that the buck squarely passes to Gareth Barry's shoulders now.
It is Barry who wants Liverpool to have more time - it's not Liverpool asking for more time, they have stuck to the deadline agreement made with O'Neill.
Is this Liverpool's attempt to save some face?
Is this also, the first step of two where Barry is forced to officially ask for a transfer? I can't see Martin O'Neill letting Liverpool come in for him again in a fortnight's time without saying I'll not accept unless you specifically ask me to and waive your 10% share.
If Barry wanted Liverpool to have more time, he should have been man enough to break the deadline agreement with a written transfer request. It's possible he has done to be honest, but if he has I find it surprising it hasn't been reported by the club.
Anyway, enough of my ramblings, Mellberg agrees with most fans in the intimation that a move to Liverpool given the squad rotation may not make his career as he hopes, but in fact break it.
Will an unloved (Liverpool fans admit Rafa isn't into man management so won't hold hands), hardly playing Gareth Barry be able to keep the form of last season and keep up his England form, or will we see the Gareth Barry form that had John Gregory say 'he needs to get his shorts dirty more often' or words to that effect.
I know what I'd put money on, and Gareth would do well to consider whether he wants 'squad' medals simply because he's on the list or whether he'd feel better earning what he wins.
'He has done really well for quite a few seasons now so he is an important and good player so it is always important, especially at this stage, for Villa to keep their best players.
"Well I don`t really know what has happened, I have tried to follow it on the website so he was obviously very close to a move to Liverpool.
"It is difficult for me to know his feelings and we will see where Villa are going as well.
"They had a good season last season and hopefully they can build on that and be challenging up there and if he will be part of that, obviously that will be good for him and Villa.'
Mellberg also doesn't believe that the bridges have been burnt too far for Barry to be an integral member of the team should his wanted move not come off.
"I don`t think it is a problem in that sense, he is a professional and well liked in the dressing room, and you know by the fans and the people in and around the club as well."
Question is Melly 'is he?' after being the impetus for breaking the deadline agreement? We know O'Neill will give players second chances, but surely this would count as a third chance and we all know what happened to Gobby Berger on his 3rd strike.
Date:Sunday August 3 2008
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