Wenger still in market for cup-tied midfielder Barry

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The Independent Online

Arsène Wenger last night remained hopeful that he could follow up the capture of Mikaël Silvestre with the addition of Gareth Barry. Wenger noted that Barry's price should have dropped following his Uefa Cup appearance for Aston Villa, but added that his ineligibility for European matches did not preclude his acquisition.

Aston Villa are holding out for £18m, and are unlikely to cut their price as they will be as aware as Wenger, and Liverpool's Rafael Benitez, who is also pursuing the player, that Barry would still be able to play in the knock-out stages of the Champions League. The current fee is too much for Wenger, who said: "I find Barry a good player. He's one of the players we follow.

"The problems with paying big money for players who are 27, 28, is you get nothing back, there is no resale."

Wenger believes he has solved one problem with the signing of Silvestre for a small fee from Manchester United. The Arsenal manager said: "He can play left-back and centre-back, and he plays in an area where we are light on experience."

Silvestre is the first player to leave Old Trafford for Arsenal since Brian Kidd made the journey 34 years ago but Wenger said United were "easy to deal with". He had not, he said, dealt directly with Sir Alex Ferguson.

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