Martin O'Neill is no mug, he'll have his Gareth Barry replacement lined up and he'll move to a five man midfield

A few might be a little disappointed right about now that Gareth Barry looks willing to join a team that finished 10th in the table last season, but I'll predict that come tomorrow morning, most won't be that bothered by it. I'm writing this post now, because my disappointment faded seconds after hearing about Manchester City story.

I'll actually say that it appears most are not that disappointed about Barry leaving, it's that he lied about wanting to leave for Champions League football. Most generally accept that he's too slow, doesn't and can't tackle and while he did look better in a five man midfield, we can get better in that position.


Which is where I'm going with this post. I fancy Martin O'Neill has his replacement lined up and that he is only letting Barry leave because he knows that playing five in midfield, or a variation of it, is going to be his preferred formation next season and that Barry, while a decent player, is just a little above average in this league for central midfield.

I sense a few getting quite angry with that last comment of mine, but Barry wouldn't start for any of the top four and if we wanted any proof that the quality coming from Standard Liège is any good, we only have to look at Everton.

Everton singed Marouane Fellaini last September and many say that Steven Defour is even better and we all know Steven Defour has already spoken about him liking the prospect of coming to Aston Villa. he is their current captain and at 21 years old, a very bright prospect.

Steven Defour, March 26th 2009
I am ready to go abroad. But if Standard want me to stay, I'll stay. Standard will only want to let me go to a top club. Villa are fifth in the Premier League, three points behind Arsenal, and that's not bad.

They're an amazing club but Standard Liege must decide whether they are good enough or not. I still have a contract until 2013. But if Standard refuse an offer, they have to give me something in return.

So, Barry is likely off and it really is worth putting things into perspective. The fans are not that disappointed with him leaving, it's that he is leaving after he said he wanted Champions League football. There are no issues with him leaving because we know we can get better. Good luck to Manchester City, but we'll still finish above them next season.

Tomorrow will be a new day and hopefully one that Aston Villa announce the signing of Defour, a better player than Fellaini and one that will fit like a glove into our new five man midfield, because Martin O'Neill is no mug and he'll have done his analysis of this season just gone and he'll know it is the way forward.

Martin O'Neill will also have a replacement lined up, of that, we really can be sure.