Martin O'Neill has launched a scathing attack on Liverpool after they made a bid for Gareth Barry.
Villa boss left fuming at Liverpool tactics
Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill has launched a scathing attack on Liverpool after it emerged they had made a bid for Gareth Barry.
Reports emerged on Merseyside early on Friday that a bid of around £14million, which included players - with Peter Crouch and Scott Carson mentioned - had been lodged with Villa for their captain.
O'Neill has now confirmed that a bid has been made by The Reds, but the Northern Irish coach was left seething with how it has come to light.
The news has come out just 24 hours ahead of their crucial Premier League clash with Wigan as Villa are locked in a battle with Everton for fifth place and the only Uefa Cup place available through the league.
"I think that what we had, was that I thought Gareth said he would prefer to wait until the end of the season before discussing things and I think that is right to do so," he told Sky Sports News
"It is particularly disappointing to find out that Liverpool, I think, have carried the story in their local paper - it is certainly not the way the Liverpool of old would have conducted business and I prefer to do it in a bit of privacy with a bit of confidentiality and it is disappointing especially at this time with two games to go.
"But they have done their bit by qualifying for the Champions League, which is great, their interest this season has ended and therefore I would rather be waiting until the end of the season, but I suppose there is a point that if Liverpool happened to be listening - he has two years left on his contract and he is not one, in my experience with him, is not one who would break contracts lightly."
Player plus cash bid
O'Neill confirmed a bid had been launched and said it was a player plus cash offer.
"They haven't made a straight cash offer," he continued.
"They have made a mish-mash of nameless players in exchange.
"As I said I am particularly disappointed to find our business being conducted in public.
"I want to be clear, I want to build a club here, we are not a feeder club - we want to try to challenge, at some stage, we want to get to the position that this club once held [European champions] and this demands an awful lot of effort, a supreme effort, and that will take very good players and I don't want to be in the position of letting players, really good players go and Gareth Barry is a really good player who still has two years left on his contract."
O'Neill added that he is yet to talk over the situation with his captain.
"I haven't discussed these things with him - obviously I will do," he continued.
"But the day before our most important game is not the time to be discussing it. I would prefer they would go back to their practice of old when they did business in the proper fashion."