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Villa punish Barry over interview

Baaheeduk

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Villa punish Barry over interview

By Phil McNulty
Chief football writer


Gareth Barry has been disciplined and ordered not to report for pre-season training as Liverpool increased their offer for the Aston Villa captain.

Barry, 27, has been punished for giving an unauthorised interview to a Sunday newspaper in which he criticised Villa manager Martin O'Neill.

Villa report for pre-season on Thursday as the transfer row took another twist.

Liverpool's new bid is around £15m, but BBC Sport understands there are no extra additional payments in the offer.

Villa have turned down a succession of offers from Liverpool, and O'Neill has denied he had received a "take it or leave it" final bid on Wednesday, insisting: "The situation remains the same."

O'Neill has said Barry will be granted his wish to join Liverpool - but only when his asking price is met.

Liverpool hope to finally resolve a protracted and increasingly acrimonious saga, but O'Neill is furious at how the Anfield club's interest in Barry became public.

O'Neill has been firm in his stance on the proposed move, saying: "If Liverpool meet our valuation, he will have his express wish to leave Villa Park granted."

In the interview that led to his punishment, Barry criticised Villa for not trying hard enough to keep him - even though O'Neill insists they want him to stay.

The player signalled his intention to move when he complained on Sunday about Villa's lack of urgency in speaking to him.

"There's no going back, it's time for me to move on," he said.

"I'm desperate to play Champions League football and that's why I have to leave Villa.

"Villa kept saying they wanted me to stay but I have not heard from the manager for weeks.

"It's seven weeks now since the season finished but while the gaffer's found time to be a pundit at Euro 2008, he hasn't found the time to speak to me.

"Have Villa offered me anything to try to persuade me my future is at Villa Park, not Anfield? Not a thing."

But O'Neill has hit back to vehemently deny Barry's claim.

"The chairman and I were surprised at Gareth's comments," he said.

"Contrary to what he said, we desperately wanted to keep him - and he knows that."

Barry captained England for the first time and scored his first international goal during the recent friendly against Trinidad and Tobago.

Liverpool are keen to partner Barry in midfield with his England colleague Steven Gerrard.

Meanwhile, Argentinian left-back Emiliano Insua has signed a new three-year contract with Liverpool.

The 19-year-old Argentina Under-20 international has made five first team appearances for the club - featuring in the final three Premier League matches of last season.

Insua initially joined Liverpool on loan from Boca Juniors in January 2007 but signed a permanent contract last summer.

Story from BBC SPORT:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/sport1/hi/football/teams/a/aston_villa/7450271.stm

Published: 2008/07/02 13:28:35 GMT

© BBC MMVIII