It's All About the Money: Gareth Barry Betrays Aston Villa

Barney Corkhill@@BarneyCorkhillSenior Writer IJune 2, 2009

ST ALBANS, ENGLAND - MARCH 30:  Gareth Barry of England talks to the media during an England press conference at the Grove Hotel on March 30, 2009 in St Albans, England.  (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

The Gareth Barry transfer saga was the longest running saga of last year. Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid came and eventually went while the questions over Barry's future remained.

He wanted to be playing Champions League football. Martin O'Neill, obviously, wanted to keep the Villa skipper and talisman.

I breathed a huge sigh of relief when the transfer window closed for two reasons; a) the saga was over and b) Liverpool had kept Xabi Alonso.

This summer, however, it is a totally different story. The Barry transfer saga will quite possibly be the shortest one of the summer, because it is already over.

The England midfielder—away on international duty at the moment—has agreed to join Manchester City for £12 million.

Yes, that's right, Manchester City. The team that finished 10th last season, four places below Aston Villa.

So why, if he only wanted to leave Villa to play Champions League football, has he joined a team with no European football next season whatsoever?

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Manchester City have the potential to get into the Champions League in the coming season, simply because of the amount of money they have.

But why join a team with the potential to win a Champions League place when you know Rafael Benitez, manager of regular Champions League semi-finalists Liverpool, is interested in you?


And that's what it all boils down to. Money.

Can we really blame Gareth Barry for moving? It's all good to sit there and say he should've stayed loyal, but if someone offered you considerably more money than you are currently earning, and the prospect of doing it alongside some of the world's best footballers, would you do it?

I know I would.

But that won't stop many Villa fans feeling betrayed by Barry's actions. He went against his word and joined a team not in the Champions League.

They will feel as if Barry's actions show that money means more to him than Aston Villa does.

But his career at the Midlands club should be applauded. For 12 years he played there—his entire career thus far—making over 400 appearances for the club.

This transfer may stain his record, but he was very loyal to Villa.

After 12 years of trying to make it the hard way with them, however, he has now opted to try and make it the "easy" way with City, who will throw cash at the club until they buy a Champions League spot.

But does that work?

Certainly, last season it didn't. Man City broke the British transfer record with their signing of Robinho and still only just managed a top-half finish.

And will the top players want to go to City? We all saw the Kaka saga in January, but even the preposterous figures being thrown about then couldn't entice Kaka away from a top club to a mid-table club.

Some players may not be as loyal as Kaka, but if City want the very best players, then money may not be a huge issue. After all, the very best will already be getting paid a lot.

The stature of the club in question will then come into account, and, while Man City have the potential to challenge for a Champions League spot, why would the best players choose that ahead of a guaranteed Champions League spot?

It is obvious that Gareth Barry has moved to City for two main reasons; a) the money and b) he thinks they will get a Champions League place before Villa will.

But that will only happen if City make some more big signings.

If you ask me, Barry made the wrong decision.

Instead, he should have either gone to an already established Champions League club if that is what he truly wanted, or stayed with Villa and tried to lead them to another charge for fourth place.

After all, they were closer than City last year, and could well be again this coming season.

We'll just have to wait and see whether Barry's quest for Champions League football will be fulfilled.

Quiz Question No. 6 Answer:

Kevin Moran of Manchester United, sent-off against Everton in the 1985 final.

Quote No. 6:

"They [Aston Villa] seem to beat the teams halfway down but struggle against the teams halfway up." - Mark Lawrenson


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