Writer: J P Fear
Date:Tuesday May 26 2009
This is nice to see, Villa owner Randy Lerner has spoken and says he is optimistic that they can convince Gareth Barry to stay.
Lerner said: 'We have discussed a new contract with Gareth. I would give Barry the highest ranking possible. He is the best. He is a gentleman, a great player, a pleasure to be around, a leader, a great captain. I don't think anyone could do better than Gareth on any level. Am I optimistic Gareth will stay? Yes, I am optimistic. It is my nature.'
He also says that Martin O'Neill will deal with the situation as normal and added he would he happy to forgo any money for Barry and to let the player stay another season and leave on a free rather than lose him now.
'Am I happy for him to wind down his current contract? That's his decision. If it means he is staying another year, I am absolutely happy. Even though Villa would lose £10-£12 million? Yes, absolutely. You are talking about a player who is an integral part of your potential success.'
He says the fee is secondary to what players like Barry can achieve for a club.
'You are keeping him on the team, the team continues to compete and you are rewarded with successful results. There is more to do it than foregoing money.'
He also disagrees with those that say Barry leaving would give out the wrong signals for the club, especially after Barry has been with Villa for 11 years!
He also warns potential suitors off players like Gabby Agbonlahor and Ashley Young saying categorically there is no way he can imagine that Villa would sell them.
Date:Tuesday May 26 2009
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