London : Aston Villa manager Martin O’Neill has slammed Liverpool for making public news of an offer for their captain Gareth Barry. Local newspaper the Liverpool Echo said that the Anfield club had offered 10 million pounds for the England midfielder.
O’Neill, who said the offer involved an exchange of players, criticised Liverpool for not keeping any contact quiet.
“Gareth Barry still has two years of his contract left to run and from my two years experience of working with him; he’s not one who would be wanting to break contracts lightly,” he said.
“Liverpool haven’t made a straight cash offer. They’ve made an offer involving a mishmash of nameless player exchanges. I’m particularly disappointed to hear that business is being conducted in public. We’re trying to build a side here and we’re not a feeder club.”
O’Neill said he wanted to keep his top players as he bids to break into the big four sides in the country.
“At some stage we want to get to the position that this football club once held. That will demand an awful lot of effort. It will take a supreme effort and it will take very, very good players,” he said.
“I don’t want to be in a position of letting really good players go. Gareth Barry is a really good player who still has two years left on his contract.”
O’Neill added: “I haven’t discussed these things with him yet. At some stage obviously I will do. But the day before probably our most important game of the season is not the time to be discussing it.”
He said Gareth himself did not want to rush things.
“A couple of weeks ago Gareth said he would prefer to wait until the end of the season before we start discussing things and I think that would be the right thing to do,” he said.
“It’s particularly disappointing to find out that Liverpool have carried the story in their local paper. It’s certainly not the way that the Liverpool of old conducted business. I prefer to do things with a bit or privacy and a bit of confidentiality.”
Despite O’Neill’s comments, the news will heighten speculation that Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso, who has been linked with a return to Spain with Real Madrid or Barcelona, could leave the club in the summer.