Mark Hughes, the Manchester City manager, is keen to add more players to his squad. The England midfielder Gareth Barry signed for the Eastlands club in a £12million (Dh72m) deal on Tuesday, and Hughes expects more arrivals. Barry, 28, has signed a five-year contract at Eastlands having completed a successful medical.
"I was looking to get a number of deals done as soon as possible and we have had a great start with Gareth joining us," said Hughes. "I hope we can conclude some more so that when we come back for pre-season training we have everybody fit and well and set for a successful campaign." Barry said he joined City because their ambition matched his own. He is presently with the England squad preparing for a World Cup qualifier in Kazakhstan on Saturday.
"I'm delighted to be joining City," he said. "It didn't take much persuasion from Mark Hughes, they are heading in the direction I want to go. "There is great potential here, and I'm sure there will be a few more additions to the squad this summer." Club captain Richard Dunne also welcomed Barry on board. "I heard he was in talks with the club, he is a really good player and a player the Aston Villa fans will really miss," he said. "It shows the pulling power of the club. It's the sort of signing the manager is looking for - players with Premier League experience who can push the squad on."
Barry had stated he wanted to play in the Champions League and manager Martin O'Neill knew it would be difficult to hang on to the player should one of the top four come calling. City have not qualified for next season's Champions League or Europa League. Barry is likely to be assured of regular first-team football - a crucial factor in the build-up to the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa, assuming that England qualify.
The City midfielder Elano may be on his way out of the club, after claiming the Citizens are in talks with the Italian side Inter Milan over a transfer for the Brazilian to the San Siro. Hughes said that the reserve goalkeeper Joe Hart may leave the club on loan. Hart spent the first half of last season as the club's first-choice keeper, but lost his place when Shay Given was signed from Newcastle United in the January transfer window.
"We'll look at his situation in the coming weeks and it might be to both Joe's and our benefit if he did go out on loan," said Hughes. "He'd be playing on a regular basis and, given his ability, he would improve his standing in the game and help his development." Tugay, the former Blackburn midfielder, said yesterday he would join City's coaching staff. It would reunite him with Hughes, who was his manager at Ewood Park.
Ecuador striker Christian Benitez is joining Birmingham City for a club record fee from Mexican side Santos Laguna. Birmingham, who have just been promoted to England's top flight, said the 23-year-old will have a medical next week having agreed personal terms. * PA Sport