Barry set for Liverpool after O'Neill puts end to resistance

Liverpool will secure Gareth Barry's signature this week, following the concession of defeat by the Aston Villa manager, Martin O'Neill, in his summer-long battle to persuade the midfielder to stay.

Liverpool's manager, Rafael Benitez, is keen to wrap up an £18m cash deal – the valuation Villa have always placed on the player – as quickly as possible. He may have the England international at his disposal within 72 hours, provided there are no hitches with the cash advance which Liverpool's owners, Tom Hicks and George Gillett, are understood to have agreed to make.

Benitez had been told that he had to sell to buy and the chances of securing Barry's services seemed to have receded with the £19m purchase of the striker Robbie Keane from Tottenham Hotspur last week. But Hicks and Gillett are understood to have provided the £18m needed to buy Barry ahead of possible further sales, and may be willing to write off any shortfall remaining after the transfer window closes.

Liverpool's major hope of helping to recoup the full sum receded further yesterday, however, when the Juventus manager, Claudio Ranieri, said after a 3-0 defeat to Hamburg in London that he was no longer considering a move for Xabi Alonso. The Italian club had never tabled a firm offer for the Spain midfielder.

Benitez can still hope that Jermaine Pennant will bring in £4m, should Blackburn Rovers develop their known interest in the winger. Andrei Voronin could bring in £6m and Steve Finnan £2m. Alvaro Arbeloa's departure has also been anticipated, though Benitez last week dismissed suggestions that the Spaniard might be unhappy at the club.

Liverpool remained hopeful of signing Barry after the drama of last Wednesday, when Villa made an unexpected declaration that the England player was to stay, minutes after the conclusion of a deadline they had imposed. Liverpool made no progress on the matter on Friday but Barry had actually persuaded O'Neill to give up on his services on Thursday morning. O'Neill, who has never been short of public proclamations on the issue, revealed as much after Villa's 1-1 draw at Reading in a friendly on Saturday.

O'Neill said that Barry and his agent, Alex Black, had felt that Liverpool could still do the deal. The Villa manager had hoped a £60,000-a-week offer might tempt the midfielder to stay.

"I was obviously very disappointed that that was still part of the scenario going forward," O'Neill said. "I gave it some thought and realised that at the end of it all there was little point in pretending. Gareth would want to join Liverpool and therefore there would be no deadline.

"I have agreed with Gareth now that Liverpool have got all the time in the world if they want to raise the money. That's the case. That's it. The ball is firmly in Liverpool's court, that's fine, not a problem."

For a manager who has railed against Liverpool and Benitez all summer, such a change of course and tone is surprising. But O'Neill can show that his club have earned every penny they were demanding for Barry, with a considerable amount payable immediately. It is understood Liverpool have accepted Villa's demand that the £18m be delivered in two instalments.

At Liverpool, Hicks' role in the move provides the biggest boost to his reputation since he arrived at the club in February 2007. Though the biggest concern at Anfield has always been the two American owners' capacity to get a new stadium built, two top-bracket signings and Saturday's 4-0 friendly win at Rangers provide a sense at last that the club is moving forward.

Arts and Entertainment
Supporting role: at the Supreme Court, Rhodes was accompanied by a famous friend, the actor Benedict Cumberbatch
booksPianist James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to stop the injunction of his memoirs
Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan
filmDheepan, film review
Steven Gerrard scores for Liverpool
peopleComedian star of Ed Sullivan Show was mother to Ben Stiller
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Life and Style
Audrey Hepburn with Hubert De Givenchy, whose well-cut black tuxedo is a 'timeless look'
fashionIt may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
George Osborne became Chancellor in 2010
peopleChancellor accused of reneging on pre-election promise
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
Lena Headey plays Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern