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Page last updated at 12:35 GMT, Friday, 22 May 2009 13:35 UK

O'Neill will consider Barry sale

Gareth Barry
Barry has regularly featured for England during the last three seasons

Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill has said he will not stand in the way of Gareth Barry if he wants to leave in search of Champions League football.

The 28-year-old, who has one year left on his contract at Villa, has been linked with a move to a top-four club.

O'Neill told BBC WM: "We would like him to stay but we understand that he's been at the club for 11 years.

"If someone came in with the offer of the Champions League, then that's something that we would look at."

Barry was involved in a tug-of-war between Liverpool and Villa last summer, with the West Midlands club rejecting a number of bids for being below their valuation, which was believed to be around £18m.

O'Neill insisted he would be willing to let the England midfielder see out the remainder of his current contract and leave Villa Park on a free transfer at the end of next season.

"Even if he ran his contract down I don't think that's something that would concern us greatly and that might show that we would like him to stay," said O'Neill.

"It's not a matter of us wanting to cash in because he's in his final year. If he said he was going to run it down and see it through, I would be delighted."

The Villa boss, who was boosted by the news that Stiliyan Petrov had signed a new four-year deal earlier in the week, will allow Barry to take his time in making his decision.

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"I've told him that there's no need to rush into anything," he added.

"He's got not only this game [against Newcastle on Sunday], but then two England international matches in June, and I'm sure he won't be able to get his head around anything until they're over with."

Barry, who has won 29 caps for England, joined Villa as a trainee from Brighton and Hove Albion in 1997 and has since scored more than 50 goals in more than 400 appearances for the club.



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