Barry; 'disloyal', 'a money grabber', 'going backwards'.

There's absolutely no denying the fact that money's going to turn a man's head. It'd be quite naive to deny that a significant salary increase, be it 25/50/100%/whatever, isn't going to be a major factor in a person deciding to change employer, it's just part of life, i'm not sure there's anything remotely out of the ordinary about it whatsoever, or any real moral issue. Manchester City will have offered Gareth Barry more take-home than he was on at Villa, it's fact. To suggest, though, that the absolute key to a top Premier League and international player's decision to move clubs would be a few extra thousand pounds a week is absurd, nothing less.

Let's not be in denial here, had any of the Big Four been in for the player he'd have most likely been signing for one of them, there's no shame in that. Facts of it are, however, that they weren't, none of them. Barry was left with the choice of either staying at Villa or moving to City, he chose the latter, and i'm not sure why it would really raise eyebrows at all. It's not as if that after twelve years at Villa Park people can accuse him of not being loyal.

Firstly, though both clubs are more-or-less going in the same direction, there's no doubt that their approaches to getting where they want to be are markedly different. Both have understanding billionaire owners, but City have made no secret of the fact that if they believe they have a chance of signing top players, they'll do so, even if that might involve overpaying. Villa's outlay, on the other hand, could be seen as more structured, a gross spend of around £82m over three years under Lerner, compared to around £105m in just one for City and ADUG. The point here, though, is that Barry has more chance of playing with top players (no matter which you think are actually realistic targets) at City than Villa.

It also has to be borne in mind that we're approaching a World Cup. Under the last couple of seasons especially, Barry has been able to play regularly for England. Continuing to play at Villa would've given him a good chance of continuing to do so, but moving to one of the Big Four arguably wouldn't have. City then, in that respect at least, represent a decent-enough move.

I guess the biggest point of issue for Villa fans will be that City don't appear to have any better a chance of qualifying for the Champions League than they themselves do. I suppose this argument carries at least some weight. Villa, despite a horrific wobble after New Year, had a terrific season, and finished twelve points ahead of City, who in turn had an up-and-down one. Villa are, on last season's performance at least, a better side than City, but will they be next year, i'm not so sure. Don't get me wrong, anything could happen at City, we know that, and especially with Hughes at the helm. It wouldn't be beyond the realms of fantasy to imagine us struggling again next year, but if the signings being mooted are realistic, then you'd have to say that we could go into the new campaign with both a decent side and squad.

If we could sign one of the forwards being linked (Tevez, Eto'o, Aguero, Adebayor, even Santa Cruz) then we may well have either the targetman or cutting edge that we've lacked previously, especially away from home. If Hughes has identified a solid, top-drawer replacement for Richard Dunne then perhaps, with the help of the arrival of Shay Given, we might have at least a little organisation back there. Add Barry to that and what's already here and you've got what looks a very decent side. Ultimately they'll have to do the business on the pitch but starting with a blank slate i'd give us at least as much of a chance of doing anything as Villa, who'll no doubt continue to add to their close-knit squad with solid but unspectacular British additions.

My obviously biased view is that Barry moving to City can't be seen as anything less than a forward step for the player. We represent the best chance of some sort of success of the clubs who were in for him, the chance to be part of a huge building project must appeal, he'll be playing with better players and of course he'll be earning a few more bob. I really can't see what people find so offensive about the whole affair. Must be us KILLING FOOTBALL again. Seemingly, most fans would've rathered him go and sit on the bench at Anfield for a couple of years, maybe pick up the odd League Cup medal and clean his pal Stevie G's boots. You really couldn't make it up.

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