Following Wenger’s comments that he will intends to sign one more central midfielder this summer, there has been considerable conjecture that the man in question is none other than Gareth Barry, chased by Liverpool for the past few months.
To be honest, I don’t see the logic in that conclusion at all. There is no doubting that Barry is a fine player, and his workrate and eye for a pass would complement Cesc beautifully, but the reason the negotiations with Liverpool have stalled is that Villa are inflating the price due to him being English.
Now, if Villa are demanding 15m from Liverpool, it is reasonable to assume that they would ask the same of us, and for Wenger to spend that kind of money on him would be extremely out of character for a man that thrives on the bargain. Surely he would think there is better value for money to be had elsewhere?
The only way I could see Barry joining is if Villa drop the asking price, which they may be forced to do if their captain is determined to leave. But if they did, Liverpool would rejoin the hunt.
As I said, I’d be surprised if he joined.
Elsewhere, two pre-season matches have been played, a 2-1 win over Barnet and a draw last night with an unpronounceable Austrian side. In both there were flickers of magic from the likes of Wilshere and Bendtner, but its far too early to be drawing conclusions. The main issue is that the players get match fit without getting injured.
Which leads us to Kolo Toure, who has contracted malaria. Fortunately, it is being reported that it is a mild strain, and he should be fit for the season opener. That said, malaria is a disease that can hang around for a while, so we’ll have to wait and see. Get well soon, Kolo.
It is nice to be seeing a bit of football again though, isn’t it?