Gareth Barry in Talks with Manchester City

Jon FeatonbyCorrespondent IJune 2, 2009

LONDON - APRIL 01:  Gareth Barry of England looks on prior to the FIFA 2010 World Cup Group 6 Qualifying match between England and Ukraine at Wembley Stadium on April 1, 2009 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Aston Villa and England midfielder Gareth Barry is holding talks with Manchester City about a proposed move to the North West club, BBC Sport reported today.

The news could well disappoint many Villa fans—Barry has been at the club since 1997. Barry was reportedly close to joining Liverpool last summer, but it fell through when the Merseysiders failed to meet Villa's £18 million valuation.

While many supporters could understand Barry's desire to play in the Champions League, Manchester City didn't even manage to qualify for next seasons Europa League. With rumours that Arsenal and Liverpool are both interested in acquiring his services, a decision to favour City would baffle many. 

Aston Villa finished four places and 12 points above Manchester City and it was the Midlands club that looked most likely to break into the top four for most of the season.

A further complication is that Barry's current contract at Villa runs out at the end of next season, meaning the player could potentially leave for free at that time. A new long-term contract has been offered, but Villa would almost certainly prefer to cash in on one of its star players should Barry not commit himself to the club.