MANCHESTER // When Manchester City made a move to sign Kaka back in January, it served notice of their intent to challenge football's leading clubs. Gareth Barry was among the interested observers, witnessing the ambition of the Premier League club. While Kaka has now joined Real Madrid, Barry didn't hesitate when City made a £12million (Dh72m) offer to lure him from Aston Villa and is now eager to play his part in their exciting future.
"I am looking forward to being part of taking this club to the next level," he said. "I think I can achieve all my ambitions here. I know there is a lot of hard work ahead and it's not going to happen overnight, but I am confident we can be challenging for major honours. I saw their ambition over the last year. You have to look at that one player there, Kaka, to see that; the ambition to try to sign one of the top three players in the world.
"Unfortunately they could not pull that one off, but there will be two or three down the line that might shock people. That shows how big this club is and if they can make the strides they want to, it will just keep getting bigger." England player Barry admitted he would have honoured a pledge to stay at Villa if they had finished in the top four. But with assurances that City are looking to bring in more big names, he feels Champions League football at Eastlands is now a strong possibility.
"I learned a lot last season of how hard it is to get a grip of the top four, but I believe Manchester City can be playing Champions League football while I'm here, otherwise I wouldn't have joined the club," Barry added. "A perfect season would be a top four place and a doing well at the World Cup." Wigan's plan to unveil Roberto Martinez as their manager ended into farce yesterday. While Martinez sat expecting to be presented to the media, a hitch developed and he remains Swansea's boss until compensation is settled for staff he wants to take to Wigan.