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O'Neill indicates Barry could leave

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Martin O'Neill has dropped another strong hint he would allow Gareth Barry to leave Aston Villa at the end of the season if they fail to qualify for the Champions League.

Barry looked set to join Liverpool last summer only for the move to break down after the Reds failed to meet Villa's £18million asking price. O'Neill asked Barry to play for another season with Villa to see if they could achieve that objective and they have been challenging strongly for a top-four finish.

O'Neill said: "I don't think anyone would begrudge him leaving the club (if they fail to qualify for the Champions League) having given almost 11 years' service."

He added: "Will Liverpool come back in for Barry? I don't know. This topic goes into a lull for a month and then comes back around again and I don't know how many times I've said the same thing.

"I don't know what Liverpool are thinking and it is not my concern at the moment.

"In the summertime - and I will repeat what I've said before - if we qualify for the Champions League, then subject to the terms (of a new contract) being right, I think there would be a decent chance that Gareth Barry would stay.

"There is nothing set in stone but that is what he has said himself and the agents have also indicated 'fine'.

"My stance has not changed. I said to him last year, with two years left of his contract to run, if he gave us another year, he could see where we are, see what we are doing.

O'Neill added: "Gareth also would have one year left of his contract instead of two and so circumstances would change. That is the viewpoint and, if we didn't make it, we would look at a number of things.

"But, in Gareth's case, the chance to go and play at a club involved in the Champions League is not something I would probably begrudge him."

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Topics:
Football
Gareth Barry
Premier League
Aston Villa
Liverpool

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