Manchester City sign Barry for £12m

Manchester City have completed a surprise £12m transfer swoop for Aston Villa midfielder Gareth Barry.

The 28-year-old England midfielder has signed a five-year contract at Eastlands having completed a medical earlier today.

Barry, who was a target for Liverpool last summer, leaves Villa after 12 years and more than 400 matches.

The midfielder had publicly 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.

However, Barry's decision to join the revolution - bankrolled by Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan - being undertaken by Mark Hughes at Eastlands will have come as a shock to O'Neill and Villa fans alike.

City have not even qualified for next season's revamped Europa League and some supporters are certain to believe Barry has moved because of the £80,000-a-week salary at Eastlands.

But it is understood Barry has received assurances regarding the quality of player Mark Hughes is looking to bring in this summer to help establish City as a major force.

And he is likely to be assured of regular first-team football at Eastlands - a crucial factor in the build-up to the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa, assuming England qualify.

O'Neill refused to budge from his £18m valuation of the player when Liverpool relentlessly pursued Barry less than 12 months ago.

But with Reds manager Rafael Benitez's priorities for squad-building lying elsewhere, City saw their chance to sign an established England international and proven Premier League player.

Even though they are £6m down on the deal from a year ago the transfer still makes sense for Villa as Barry, who is currently with the England squad preparing for a World Cup qualifier in Kazakhstan on Saturday, could leave for nothing at the end of next season.

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