Aston Villa skipper Martin Laursen has conceded to breathing a huge sigh of relief the day the transfer window closed.
It was a moment that confirmed Gareth Barry would be staying at the club following a summer-long transfer saga that eventually led to a potential move to Liverpool collapsing. Villa stood by their guns over a fee Liverpool refused to pay, and although Barry angered the fans by expressing his desire to leave, he is again back in favour.
"I was very relieved when the transfer window shut," reflected centre-back Laursen. "He (Barry) is such a great player, and it was so vital he stayed because he can play left-back, in the middle or left wing."
He added: "It's impossible to say whether we would have made such a good start to the season without him.
"But you look at Spurs who are struggling because they are not scoring goals, so they are definitely missing two good strikers.
"If Gareth had left we would have missed him a lot too."
Laursen, meanwhile, has revealed Wigan striker Emile Heskey is a player he would love to see at Villa Park following the 30-year-old's recent revival.
Heskey is likely to be on the move when his contract expires at the end of the season, and given his former relationship with O'Neill when they were at Leicester, it could pay dividends.
"We like to play with a good targetman like John (Carew)," added Laursen.
"Heskey is a good player, and we will always welcome good players at this club because it keeps the competition high and at its best for everyone."
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