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We cast an eye over this weekend's Premier League action and pick out the highlights.
"Gazza used to pinch our clothes" - ex-Everton man Alan Stubbs looks back on his playing days.
Manchester City have completed the signing of Gareth Barry from Aston Villa in a £12million deal.
Barry has penned a five-year contract at Eastlands after agreeing personal terms and passing a medical.
The England international's future at Villa has been the subject of speculation for some time, with Liverpool failing to sign him last summer in a much-publicised tug-of-war with Villa.
Barry's contract at Villa was due to expire next summer and although Villa offered him a new deal, he has opted to make the move to ambitious City.
The 28-year-old becomes City's first signing of the summer and his arrival is a major boost for City boss Mark Hughes as he looks to build a side capable of breaking into the top four.
Barry was delighted to make the move to City and he believes there is a lot of potential at the club.
"I'm delighted to be joining City. It didn't take much persuasion from Mark Hughes, they are heading in the direction I want to go," Barry told the club's official website.
"There is great potential here, and I'm sure there will be a few more additions to the squad this summer."
"Gareth is widely acknowledged as one of the top midfielders in the Premier League, and that is a recommendation in itself," noted Hughes. "When players of his quality become available then you have to be in the market for them, so we are absolutely delighted that we have been able to conclude this deal.
"The experience required to compete with the best in the Premier League is vital, and with Gareth we get the experience of someone who has played week-in, week-out in the hardest league in the world.
"He plays at a level that has an impact on the game, and we are thrilled that he is joining us."
Oh what fuss! Barry is overated, Villa got decent price for him! Man City are going nowhere with or without Hughes. Any side that really was serious about getting to CL would offload Robinhio and M Richards because of the bad vibes they create at City. Let City keep believing there going to top four, it won't happen. The top players won't go there, they may have all the money but NO CLASS. Spurs, Villa or Everton are more likely to break into top four, although to be fair its really a top three as Arsenal are just a bunch of show ponies now with no trophies!!
Posted 06:12 4th June 2009
Hold on a second; if it really was the challenge of playing in the CL which was the attraction, then surely the players playing for the European 4 would be doing so for lower wages. Why then, have the European 4 got higher wage bills than the other clubs in the Pl ? i think we all know this is hypocritical posturing from the objectors. I'm sorry for Villa, I'd support you if I lived in the Midlands and I hope you get your own sugar daddy with deep pockets because the cartel have cornered the money in football for too long. I'd love to see a level playing field but whilst these 4 control football it is never going to happen. The rest of football should be praying that we break up the cartel because, if we don't, then the rest of you can forget ever doing it and the English league will become even less of a competition than it is now.
Posted 21:01 3rd June 2009
I'm relieved that it's happened early in the close season. I'm not too bothered that he's gone, because what cost us a top 4 finish more than anything else was the loss of the heartbeat of the team - Martin Laursen. Just check out the dip in results and how many goals we conceded after Laursen got the injury which has ended his career. Losing Barry will have no where near the same impact on the team. As long as MON uses that £12m and the rest of what Randy has already told him to spend wisely, mainly on a commanding centre half, an attacking midfielder and a regular goalscorer, then the Villa can give it another good go next year. Losing Ashley Young for any amount of money is what would have worried me most. Sidwell, Reo-Coker or Petrov are just as capable of passing the ball out left to Young. One last thing - exactly how good was Barry reckoned to be before MON arrived and how many England Caps did he have, and how many times had the likes of Liverpool come knocking on the door for him? You all know the answers. 4 years ago I was telling my son that Barry was a waste of space - half paced and one footed without a single creative idea in his head. Nothing has changed except for the players around him and the manager who has made him what is currently is. As a Villa fan of more than 40yrs I'm more than satisfied with the deal. Good luck City, but Villa are moving on without him.
Posted 13:41 3rd June 2009
Thought he wanted CL football...!? City wont break into the top for with Hughes as manager. All Barry wanted is the £100,000 a week!! What is he 28/29!? No chance of CL football Barry... £12million bargain for city though!
Posted 12:40 3rd June 2009
I don't care why Barry has gone to City I just hope that this means we keep Alonso and use the money for better players in other areas! If we'd gotten him on a free next summer fair enough, but with our current squad we didn't need GB!! We need players who can unlock tight defences and create/score chances, not some midfield steady Eddy!! As for Barry this is a gamble. If he was 25 ish then fair enough, but what if it takes 2-3 seasons to break into the top four then another season to actually play in the Cl? All the while with more big money names coming in, does he seriously think he'll get much CL playing time? People forget that Chelsea were doing quite well before RA came in, whereas MC have done very little for a long time!!
Posted 12:23 3rd June 2009
Garath Barry is just like half the other players in the world. He's all about the money, football has become a mercanerys sport because no one cares about the club they play for any more. It should go back to the old days when no players contract reached above x amount. I would have under stood if you went to a liverpool, manu, chelsea or arsanal because you wanted champions league well you have just took a massive step back Good ridance barry enjoy your last few years knowing your just a money grabber.
Posted 12:13 3rd June 2009
1. Barry did not go to a top four club because he isnt good enough for any of them. 2. He has served ten years at the Villa and lets be honest, everyone needs a change after a while, and wouldnt you switch jobs if you were offered double salary? Yes, thought so. Finally, his contract was up at the end of the forthcoming season so Villa wouldnt have got a penny for him then, so all in all, its good business all round. Villa should now go out and buy two ar three top quality players and mount another challenge for the top four next season. Man City, top four? forget it.
Posted 12:11 3rd June 2009
Barry is a great midfielder. A great signing for city. He will grow even more and he will gain status of being a superstar. Aston villa fans have today shocked me. he served them for so many years and he really deserved better! yet when he left they are all moaning about it! Well when you havve barry with ireland in the midfield with robinho and maybe bellamy on the attack you really have a great line up dont you :D and they even got the best keeper!
Posted 11:37 3rd June 2009
Lots of bitterness on here - understandable from Villa fans to be honest. There are some pretty blinkered comments from other people though - City have no stability etc etc. Granted, in the past we haven't, but our owners have made their intentions clear that they will not be getting rid of Hughes and indeed mentioned the club's need for stability. All the city knockers would do well to get their facts right before they make daft comments. PS. an excellent signing for City
Posted 11:36 3rd June 2009
Having put in so many years at Villa I for one don't resent Barry for leaving. However I do find the decision to be somewhat odd. He always stated that Champions League football was the reason why he wanted out and Man City won't be in it next season. Surely it would have made more sense for him to run his contract down (like Villa offered) and then see where Man City were next season? Being out of contract he could choose any of the four clubs that qualify (Anyone commenting on here that he isn't good enough to play for them is delusional) So by moving now he is taking a big gamble that City will do better than Villa next season and more importantly, giving Villa £12 million that they wouldn't have got if he ran the contract down like we'd offered. So thanks for the £12m Gareth and thanks for all the years you've given us. Good luck at City.
Posted 11:36 3rd June 2009
I would like to thank Gareth Barry for the wonderful service he has given to Aston Villa and I understand that the temptation to double his salary was too much to turn down. The only gripe I have is why did he say he wanted to leave for Champions League football because he has more chance of playing in Europe with 11 other Premier League teams who will all finish higher in the league than Manchester City. Good luck Gareth now its up to Reo-Coker to prove he is the man for the job
Posted 11:22 3rd June 2009
Well done Alonso, Liverpool's best player last season. He proved easily who's the better player between him and Barry. If it was a kick up the backside from Rafa' then it worked a treat. I just hope that Alonso stays. As for Barry, Man' City won't become top four for at least 2-3 years if ever. I can only assume that for the money the big four didn't come in for him. As far as playing in the CL is concerned it's a step or two back.
Posted 11:21 3rd June 2009
It was only a few days ago that Barry told everyone "I want to be a Gunner". This because he wanted Europe.At 28 he has joined a Club who are NOT in Europe which means that like every other team outside the top 4 they have no prospect, however small, of Europe until 2011. It must be money. We can't blame him but why not just admit that it was an offer he just couldn't refuse.
Posted 11:20 3rd June 2009
GREED, GREED, GREED. All the rubbish he was coming out with about wanting to play CL. I can think of a phrase from a Tom Cruise, 'SHOW ME THE MONEY'. Trust me Barry, Man City will not be in the top 4 at the end of next year.
Posted 07:44 3rd June 2009
Shocked at the abuse Gareth has recieved from villa fans after being at the heart of everything they do for the last 10 years, its not often you get that sort of service from a player. Good luck Gareth you career has just moved on to bigger and better things.
Posted 07:42 3rd June 2009
I think a few man city fans are missing the point. They arent saying City are a small team they are saying that Gareth Barry came out saying "I want to play champions league football" and then moved to a club who havent even made europe. The top 4 are still miles ahead of anyone and ust because city have money doesnt mean they will break into the top four in the next couple of seasons. Villa fans have every right to be annoyed at barry he is a sell out and gone to city for the money, but for £12 million its a very very good signing for city, although he isnt as good as Alonso so i am glad that you bought barry so it can end the speculation on Alonso's future!
Posted 07:27 3rd June 2009
its all money money money .. if he wanted to play champions league he wud ve opted for a top 4 side but .. i guess when u have no international future i think money is the right choice
Posted 07:25 3rd June 2009
Why all the bitter comments from the Villa supporters, if Barry was not sold this season you would have got nothing for him next year and 12m for a 28 year old average player is allot of money, this is a good move for Barry, Villa and City, although I still beleive Villa will be playing CL long before City.
Posted 07:24 3rd June 2009
I have no respect fr Barry now. He became an England regular under O'Neill and now he'll fade into the wilderness. "It didn't take much persuading"???? No Europe, when that was your stated reason for leaving the club who gave you everything. Liverpool blatantly tapped him up at the end of last season but now I wish he had gone, Gareth Barry now represents everything that's wrong with football. He's a mercenary. He was the most important player at Villa and he opted for anonymity at a club which is essentially a rich man's toy. DIsgusting. Maybe Donald Trump will take over Acrington Stanley and he'll hook up with Fabregas and Gerard in their midfield.
Posted 07:06 3rd June 2009
Well I think he made a mistake joining Man City. They are not in europe and have no chance of breaking into the top four anytime soon! These are the only type of player there gonna attract players who want the mad wages being offered. Robinho cant still think hes made the right choice moving to Man City surely. And we seen what happened when they try make big name signings like Kaka he basically laughed and said who the bleep are Man City. Gonna be interesting to see who else they can get cause any player willing to move to City will call it "Football reasons" and want to be part of history there gonna be remembered for all the wrong reasons. Man Utd did you lot a favour kidnapping berbatov cause he should be selling big issues not getting a wage from Man Utd
Posted 06:59 3rd June 2009
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We cast an eye over this weekend's Premier League action and pick out the highlights.
Tottenham stars Jermain Defoe and Andros Townsend joined Ben and Kammy on Goals on Sunday and discussed England's tough World Cup draw.
Sam Wallace from The Independent told the Sunday Supplement that Manchester United haven't competed for big players in the transfer market for years.
Read the thoughts and opinions of Jamie Carragher with skysports.com
Demba Ba's representatives have told Sky Sports News that they do not expect the Newcastle striker to join Chelsea
Seamus Coleman has signed a new five-and-a-half-year contract with Everton.
Sky Sports understands Queens Park Rangers are in talks with Liverpool over a move for Joe Cole.
Manager Harry Redknapp has refused to give up hope after his ailing QPR side were soundly beaten by Liverpool.
Stoke's Steven Nzonzi can face Manchester City on New Year's Day after appealing against his red card.