Ashley Cole aside, there aren’t many 33-year-olds who would have a trio of clubs scrapping for his signature when he became a free agent, although Gareth Barry finds himself in that exact situation this summer.
Having spent the season on loan from Manchester City at Everton, the midfielder’s contract at the Etihad club is up this off-season and he is clearly not wanted by the Premier League champions.
An impressive temporary stay at Goodison naturally means the Toffees are keen to bring him back to Merseyside on a permanent basis, while Arsene Wenger is also considering adding Barry to his already experienced central midfield stocks.
With Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Mathieu Flamini and Mikel Arteta all among the names vying to be in the Frenchman’s midfield though, Barry isn’t likely to see the pitch as often as he would should he join Roberto Martinez for another campaign.
Should he plump for a move to the third, and newest, club in the race for his John Hancock though then the 53-capped international would surely be one of the side’s stars.
West Ham, fresh from releasing midfield duo Joe Cole and Jack Collison, are in the market to land Barry and with an obvious need to replenish their centre-circle stocks, are willing to offer him more money than their competitors.
It’s been reported that Everton and Arsenal have offered the Hastings native £50,000 per week, but that the Hammers have gazumped both with an offer of £65,000.
Should regular playing time be Barry’s main criteria for choosing his next destination, then Everton’s Europa League involvement should tip the balance, however the Upton Park club are hopeful their extra reddies will give them an advantage.
Barry would, without question, improve West Ham’s midfield too having made more average key passes per match than all but two of Sam Allardyce’s current squad while registering more assists than all bar one Hammer this term.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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