Football round-up: O'Neill admits Barry likely to move to Anfield

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The Independent Football

Martin O'Neill admitted yesterday that Gareth Barry's controversial move to Liverpool could yet go ahead and that it was in the Anfield club's hands. "If Liverpool at the end of it all do not come up with the money, that's no one else's fault but their own," the Aston Villa manager said.

O'Neill left Barry to kick his heels for two weeks after the England midfielder criticised him and insisted that his future lay at Liverpool. However, O'Neill recalled him for the Intertoto Cup victory over the Danishside Odense.

Clarifying the issue yesterday, O' Neill told the Aston Villa website that Liverpool had expressed an interest in Barry four months ago and that the apparent breakdown of the deal was not a matter of the Anfield club "missing a deadline by 15 minutes" as had been reported. He said that the player and his agent had indicated that Liverpool may yet come up with an acceptable offer.

Speaking after his side's 1-1 draw at Reading, O'Neill said: "There will be no deadline and Liverpool have all the time in the world to sign Gareth Barry. They have up to the normal window, which is the 31st of the month. So it's really up to them."

Liverpool had looked unlikely to follow up their interest in Barry after splashing out £20 million on Robbie Keane. That looked money well spent when the Republic of Ireland international made his first appearance in a Liverpool shirt on British soil and was influential in a 4-0 victory at Rangers. His performance up front in tandem with Fernando Torres, albeit in a friendly, suggested that the pair will prove a potent force in the new season.

Keane, who signed from Tottenham Hotspur, did not score, but Torres did find the net, pouncing on a mistake by the Rangers goalkeeper, AllanMcGregor, in the 23rd minute. The Spaniard made way at half-time for David Ngog, who struck a sublime second goal for Rafael Benitez's side in the 59th minute. Yossi Benayoun added another from a cross by Christian Nemeth, and Xabi Alonso, a substitute, converted a penalty in the 70th minute after Kirk Broadfoot had brought down Nemeth.

Although Villa looked far from convincing at the Madejski Stadium, O'Neill did see his new goalkeeper, Brad Friedel, save a penalty after 10 minutes. Gabriel Agbonlahor salvaged a draw after the young Turkish reserve Jem Karacan had scored for Reading.

Manchester United continued their build-up to the new season with a 1-0 victory over the Spanish side Espanyol at Old Trafford in a testimonial match for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. FraizerCampbell scored after beingsent clear by Ryan Giggs eight minutes from time.

If victory pleased manager Sir Alex Ferguson, he will not have been impressed by news from north London, where Real Madrid are playing in the Emirates Cup, that the Spanish club are still interested in signingCristiano Ronaldo.

Emmanuel Adebayor got a mixed welcome when he came on for the second half of Arsenal's Emirates Cup match against Juventus. The Togo striker, who has declared his allegiance to Arsenal after chasing a transfer to Milan or Barcelona, tried to win back friends with a determined effort for a young Arsenal side, who lost to the only goal, scored by David Trezeguet.

Arsène Wenger, Arsenal's manager, put the reaction to Adebayors down to fans' frustration about the transfer saga. He said: "I feel our fans are behind him, I feel that [reaction] was more disappointed love. To me, face to face, he always told me he wants to stay at the club."

Newcastle are said to be close to buying the Argentinian defender Fabricio Coloccini from Deportivo La Coruña for about £10m. But the real question now, apparently, is who is going to buy Newcastle from Mike Ashley. Reports indicate that the sports goods entrepreneur is poised to succumb to the temptation of one of two Asian offers.

One potential buyer is said to be Anil Ambani, 49, the chairman of India's Reliance Communication, who is said to be the world's sixth richest man with a personal wealth in excess of £20 billion. The other is reportedly Profitable Group, a Singapore-based investment company, who have Steve McMahon, the former England player, on board.

The Ambani offer, according to reports, would allow Ashley to double his original £120m investment and would also provide the club with about £100m in funds for transfers.

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