x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Barry completes City deal

The Aston Villa and England midfielder Gareth Barry signs for Manchester City in a £12 million (Dh72m) deal.

Manchester City made what was expected to be the first of several major player acquisitions last night with the signing of the England midfielder Gareth Barry. The club, which was bought by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed last September, has paid £12 million (Dh72 million) for the Aston Villa player. Barry, 28, agreed terms on a five-year contract after passing a medical. The move was concluded within 24 hours of Villa finally accepting that the player's exit was inevitable. They could not persuade him to agree terms on a contract extension and risked losing him on a free transfer next summer. Barry saw a move to Liverpool collapse last season when the two clubs failed to agree a fee. After 12 years at Villa Park, Barry said he wanted a fresh challenge. "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. I'm sure there will be a few more additions to the squad this summer." Hughes said the club was now in a position to attract top players. "With Gareth we get the experience of someone who has played, week in, week out, in the hardest league in the world," he said. "He plays at a level that has an impact on the game, and we are thrilled that he is joining us. "I think we are now a club that is viewed as an attractive proposition for top players, which wasn't necessarily the case prior to Sheikh Mansour buying the club." akham@thenational.ae