I can not remember a more talked up and dramatic transfer like this! All summer we have been hearing Gareth Barry this, Gareth Barry that. I am sure most of you feel the same way that I do and we are sick and tired of all this ‘is he staying or going’ talk. For me, I thought that this was going to be a simple deal, Barry would leave Aston Villa and sign for Liverpool, but it has not been that simple.
Firstly Villa accused us of ‘tapping up’ Barry and unsettling him so that he can move to Liverpool. It was clear that Barry had enough of Villa and wanted to leave them and come to Liverpool to link up with his pal Stevie G and also play for a team such as ours which is in the Champions League and is capable of winning trophies. Then the next step was securing the funds to sign Barry. We made several bids which Villa rejected. At the same time of making all these bids we were almost certain of selling Xabi Alonso to Juventus so we could finance the Barry deal. Then the Alonso transfer broke down and we seemed not to have the money to buy Barry anymore. Villa then gave us a deadline as to when we must pay up to sign Barry. To me that was rubbish! How can you set a date and time for when a transfer has to take place? The only date and time for a deadline is midnight on the 31st of August when the transfer window closes.
So at that point the Barry transfer looked dead and burried and Martin O’Neil did not waste anytime in celebrating the fact that Liverpool have failed to pay for the Barry deal by their set deadline date. He quickly ran to the Aston Villa website to make a statement saying that Barry is not going anywhere and will remain an Aston Villa player. But now, O’Neil has come out and said that Liverpool can pay when ever they are ready for Barry! It is clear Barry had some words with the hierarchy at Aston Villa and told them that he does not want to play there anymore and they just had to accept that he is leaving.
Now that Villa are prepared to let him go it is really only up to us to now just pay how ever much Villa want which some say is £17m plus Steve Finnan and then Barry is a Liverpool player. So as O’Neil said, the ball is in our court. What do we do now? Do we borrow the money to sign Barry or wait to sell Alonso first and then use that money to buy Barry?
I can not see us having both Barry and Alonso this coming season in the same squad. As much as I would like to see both of them there, I can not just see it happening. My guess is that we are going to seal the Barry deal this week and then work hard to try offload Alonso. But then I was reading today that Rafa is pleased with Alonso. Obviously he would be pleased as Alonso is still a good player. But Rafa did not say that Alonso will definitely be staying at Liverpool this season. Until the day Rafa does come out and say Alonso is not for sale, we can be sure that he is looking to offload the player and get some cash in the bank.
I just hope that this week is the final week we will be hearing about the Barry transfer and he can join us and start training with his new team mates. I came across a comment today where someone suggested a midfield of Barry on the left, Gerrard on the right, Alonso and Mascherano in the middle. I am pretty sure Keane and Torres would be up front. But that midfield looks great on paper but I some how do not think it would work too well on the field. Let us just wait and see how things pan out.