BIRMINGHAM, June 3 – England midfielder Gareth Barry signed for Manchester City from English Premier League rivals Aston Villa for 12 million pounds on Tuesday.The 28-year-old came close to joining Liverpool last year and was expected to be a target for them again this summer especially as they could offer him Champions League football while City failed to qualify for either European club competition.
Barry had a year left on his contract.
City, who are owned by the Abu Dhabi United Group, are expected to be big players in the close season transfer market and manager Mark Hughes is a long-standing admirer of Barry.
The midfielder is currently preparing for England’s upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Kazakhstan and Andorra on June 6 and 10.
Although City cannot offer him Champions League football – which was one of the reasons he gave for requesting a transfer when Liverpool made their bid last year – Barry was probably tempted to Eastlands by the prospect of significantly increased wages and the prospect of regular first-team football in the run-up to next year’s World Cup finals in South Africa.
Barry has spent his entire career at Villa, making over 400 appearances since he emerged from the youth ranks.
Former Aston Villa and England manager Graham Taylor believes Barry has chosen City because they will challenge the top four next season.
"He has to believe that Manchester City will be signing the quality of player that will give them the best possibility of Champions League football the season after next," said Taylor.
"He’ll be aware that there’s nothing more important than playing first-team football in a World Cup year.
"At Aston Villa it’s almost certain that he would be a first-team regular. I think he would be at Manchester City, but I’m not so certain that would be the case at Liverpool."