Villa adamant Barry is staying

Aston Villa remain adamant today that the Gareth Barry transfer saga is over despite Liverpool still maintaining that a deal for the England midfielder can be done.

Several football websites have claimed the protracted deal has been revived and could still go through this week, but Villa sources immediately refuted that claim.

Today, despite strong speculation the deal was still alive, sources at Villa insisted there had been no new bid and nothing had changed.

Villa boss Martin O'Neill last night announced he was delighted to have got "closure" on the matter and that Barry would not be leaving the club.

But from the Merseyside end of the saga, Liverpool insist they are still active in the deal and after they returned from their friendly in Villarreal on Wednesday night more moves are believed to have taken place.

Yesterday, Villa issued a statement on their club website saying the deal was dead because Liverpool had failed to meet a 5pm deadline to meet their demands.

Liverpool insist they did have the cash in place and would use Steve Finnan as a makeweight. Finnan, however, was allowed to play in the second-half of the 0-0 draw with Villarreal, risking injury in the process.

O'Neill said last night: "Naturally we're all absolutely delighted that Gareth will be staying at Villa Park and relieved that there is resolution and closure to the transfer saga.

"At a very positive meeting on Monday it was agreed between Gareth, his agent, Mr Lerner and myself that a deadline should be communicated to Liverpool to finally resolve the situation.

"Liverpool were informed and that deadline came and passed. Now we can all look forward to the season ahead with relief, anticipation and ambition."

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez evaded questions about the collapse of the deal in Spain last night, but today he has made it clear, privately, that he will not give up on his goal.

It is believed Barry and his agent have another planned meeting with O'Neill later this week, and it seems that the summer's most protracted transfer saga is still not over.

The key to the situation now seems to be how Barry will react to O'Neill's very public assertion that he is staying.