The move to Liverpool will tick several boxes for the Aston Villa captain: he gets to make more money (in a short career that’s always a consideration), he gets to play Champions League football and he gets to dream about the Premier League title as opposed to Champions League qualification. It’s a lifestyle upgrade, and although it won’t matter as much (I’m sure Barry has friends at Villa too) Steven Gerrard is being touted as another reason for Barry to leave Villa for Pool.
And then there is his candidacy for a midfield berth with the England national team. He is not my favourite footballer mainly because he has pushed Michael Carrick down the pecking order but the man’s game is more complete than Carrick’s and his versatility and ability to influence a game gives him an edge.
However, he still has 2 giants and a remarkably effective footballer ahead of him – Gerrard and Lampard are still England’s 2 best central midfielders and Hargreaves is king in that defensive midfield role. Barry cannot replace them unless one of the 3 is injured, and for all the hoopla about playing for a big team being a ticket to a regular starting spot, you need to be better than the players you want to replace and bring to the table what other cannot to actually get that spot. Some how being in rotation for Liverpool does not seem like the way to bring something extra out of Barry.
So while Barry can hope for England, the only things that will be guaranteed to him are a) more money and b) a higher level of football.
That’s reason enough, I guess (and Dr Fisher agrees). The only question is whether Liverpool can match Aston Villa’s valuation of him – if Carrick goes for 14m and Hargreaves goes for 18m, Barry would go in the same transfer fee bracket. However, rumours suggest that Liverpool have bid low, and are offering a players+money exchange (Crouch is the one being mentioned the most). Expect Villa to hold on and get at least 14-15m out of Liverpool – in terms of money and players – for Barry.
In any case, what’s going to be more interesting is how Aston Villa will cope with Barry’s departure, who they will bring in as replacement and how the money will be spent (a couple of cheap players or one big bid).