After spending the past season with Everton on a season-long loan, Gareth Barry has transferred to the club on a permanent basis after signing a three-year deal.
The club announced the news on its official Twitter account:
There seems to be no question that the player is excited about the move:
Barry: "I've learned so much from the boss, it's a great set of players and the fans are fantastic - everything about Everton feels right."— Everton (@Everton) July 8, 2014
Barry made 32 appearances for Everton last season as a defensive midfielder and was a big reason for their success at the domestic level. The squad finished in fifth place in the league table, securing a spot in the Europa League for the upcoming season.
Additionally, only Manchester City and Chelsea allowed fewer goals in the English Premier League than Everton.
The 33-year-old veteran also made some contributions on the attack, totaling three goals and four assists while consistently making long passes to help out the forwards on the pitch.
With Manchester City having plenty of depth throughout the midfield, they were willing to allow Barry's contract to expire. The Toffees then picked up the talented player on a free transfer with a deal that will keep him in town until 2017.
This is a big move for the club considering how much better the squad was when Barry was on the pitch, according to Ben McAleer of WhoScored.com:
Everton had a considerably better win percentage in league games this season with Barry starting (62.5%) than without him (16.7%), hinting at how pivotal a role he played for the team. Furthermore, the team netted more goals per game (1.69) and conceded fewer (0.94) when Barry started compared to when he did not play (1.17 and 1.5, respectively).
If Barry can replicate his production from this past season at Everton and the young players on the roster continue to improve, there is no doubt that this club would be capable of completing an even higher finish next season.
Although a league title might be a bit bold, a top-four finish remains a strong possibility for the upcoming year.
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