ONeill confident Barry will stay at Villa

first_imgTopics O’Neill confident Barry will stay at Villa Share on Twitter First published on Wed 7 May 2008 22.32 EDT Share on Twitter Share on WhatsApp Share on Pinterest Gareth Barry’s impressive form for Aston Villa saw him cement a place in the England Squad. Photograph: Ian Kington/AFP/Getty Images Shares00 Share on LinkedIn @StuartJamesGNM Martin O’Neill says Liverpool are “a million miles away” from signing Gareth Barry, with the Aston Villa manager insisting that he remains hopeful of convincing the England international to commit his future to the club. O’Neill, who confirmed that he has spoken to Barry about Liverpool’s bid last Friday, has also warned Rafael Benítez that the club’s £10m offer for the Villa captain significantly undervalues the player.The Villa manager will hold further talks with Barry after Sunday’s final league match at West Ham United but, with the owner Randy Lerner’s support, is optimistic that he can persuade the 27-year-old to sign a new contract and reject Liverpool’s advances. “Keeping him at Aston Villa is as important as anything we do in the transfer market,” said O’Neill, who persuaded Barry to turn down a move to Portsmouth two years ago when he first took over.”I must clarify this point, as we speak, we are a million miles away [from Barry joining Liverpool],” said O’Neill, who was upset that details of the bid were leaked on Merseyside. “At the moment, it would be like me offering £20m for [Lionel] Messi. Barcelona would say, ‘So what?’ That’s not saying that Messi would want to come.” Asked whether Liverpool’s bid undervalued Barry, O’Neill replied: “Absolutely, without question. This lad is playing for England.”General Charles Krulak, Lerner’s right-hand man, indicated on a supporters’ site that Villa would not seek to retain Barry if he was unhappy, although O’Neill rejected that suggestion. The Villa manager admitted Barry had told him he was “a bit affected by the speculation” in the wake of the weekend’s reports but claimed he had seen no evidence that the player was keen to leave. He also insisted that Lerner, and not Krulak, would be involved in the decision.”I think Randy thinks a lot of Gareth,” added O’Neill. “I spoke to him the other day and he wants to keep Gareth at the football club and try and improve the team rather than disassemble it. I think in many aspects he takes the positive side because, in effect, he shouldn’t really be surprised that the best teams are after the best players. But his view is that’s where we want to go, that was why he took the club over in the first place, to help restore the club.”Queens Park Rangers have entered the race to sign Robert Earnshaw, with the Championship club hopeful of bringing an end to the forward’s miserable spell at Pride Park, despite interest from Nottingham Forest. Earnshaw only started in seven Premier League matches at Derby.Another Derby striker, Kenny Miller, will also be leaving. The Scotland international, who joined from Celtic for £3m last August, is the highest-earning player at the club and cannot be retained in the Championship. Rangers, who sold Miller to Wolverhampton Wanderers in 2001, are poised to move for him. Share via Emailcenter_img Aston Villa Share via Email Martin O’Neill Wed 7 May 2008 22.32 EDT Stuart James Share on Messenger Aston Villa Reuse this content Share on Facebook Share on Facebook Liverpoollast_img

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