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Barry decision key to Petrov future

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Stiliyan Petrov admits whether Gareth Barry stays or goes will have "a big influence" on his own future with Aston Villa.

The midlanders boss Martin O'Neill says persuading Petrov to sign a new contract has become his "top priority" since the closure of the winter transfer window.

Petrov, who has 17 months remaining on his current deal, said: "The manager will try to show everybody that he wants to build something big here and one of the things is to keep Gareth Barry because he is maybe the most important player at the club."

He added: "If we keep Gareth it will also send out a message to all of the players, a big message that we are in for something big here next year.

"We all hope he is going to stay because he is one of the best midfielders in the country and you try your best to keep him if you want to achieve something."

Petrov is content to focus for the time being on helping Villa's pursuit of success and they host CSKA Moscow in the first leg of a UEFA Cup clash on Wednesday with a place in the last 16 at stake.

On the subject of his contract, he said: "There have been no talks - not at all. My job now is to play football.

"If the club is interested to offer me a new contract, they will contact my agent and speak about that.

"It is no priority at the moment. There are other priorities at the moment - for the club to finish in the top four of the Barclays Premier League and go as far as we can in the UEFA Cup.

"That is the most important thing."

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Topics:
Football
Stiliyan Petrov
Gareth Barry
Premier League
Aston Villa

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