According to Aston Villa manager Martin O’Neill, Arsenal have enquired about the availability of midfielder Gareth Barry. Indeed, O’Neill was quoted as saying that Arsenal assistant manager Pat Rice had been in contact with Aston Villa’s assistant manager Steve Halford to keep tabs on how negotiations between Barry and the club he is most likely to move to, Liverpool, have been progressing.
“Myself and Steve Walford both know Arsene Wenger’s assistant Pat Rice. He phoned Steve to ask how the Liverpool thing had gone and said that they might show an interest. At the end of the conversation [Rice] said ‘that’s fine’ and that they’ll let us know. That is exactly what happened.”
I have to say I like what’s going on here. In my opinion we still have a big Mathieu Flamini-sized void to fill in the centre of the park and I can’t think of anyone better than Barry to fill it. He’s experienced, hard-working and skilful and perhaps most importantly, he’s on his way out of Aston Villa with Steve Sidwell already brought in from Chelsea as his replacement.
Whether he signs or not is another matter entirely, of course. But as I said before, I like what Rice and of course Arsene Wenger is up to here. I don’t want to get myself whipped up into too much of a frenzy over the potential signing of Barry but from what has been said it seems a real possibility. Watch this space.
Aside from the interest in Barry there’s not too much going on at the moment apart from another ‘Andrei Arshavin to Arsenal’ plug from the player’s agent, Dennis Lachter:
“If Arsenal go for Arshavin it could be really good for both parties. Arsenal is a very young team and Arshavin is 27. There’s something about combining young and older players, they propagate attacking football.”
While I don’t necessarily disagree with what Lachter is saying about Arshavin and Arsenal being a good match, it’s pretty hard to trust football managers in this day and age. It’s clear to me that interest in Arshavin has dwindled since Zenit St Petersburg slapped a quite ridiculous £24million price tag on his head. And whose job is it to talk up the player to a point where someone might be silly enough to pay such an amount? That’s right, his agent.
Despite all of my agent-phobia I would not be against seeing Arshavin in an Arsenal shirt next season. As you are all aware of by now, he had a magnificent tournament for Russia at Euro 2008 and clearly has all the attributes that are required to make an impact, even in the rough-and-tumble of the Premiership.
But until Zenit lower their price then the chances of Arshavin playing for Arsenal next season are about as low as me playing for them. Perhaps even lower.
Time to go I think. I’m starting to have some crazy delusions about playing for Arsenal.
Let me know what you make of the Barry and Arshavin situations by leaving a comment.