Villa will let Barry's contract run down

MARTIN O'Neill is ready to write off �9million by giving Gareth Barry the green light to run down his Aston Villa contract. The England midfielder has three options as he goes into the last 12 months of his current deal.

MARTIN O'Neill is ready to write off �9million by giving Gareth Barry the green light to run down his Aston Villa contract.

The England midfielder has three options as he goes into the last 12 months of his current deal.

Barry can insist the club honour last summer's gentleman's agreement to let him join one of the Premier League's big four.

He could sign a new �70,000-a-week, long-term contract, or he can see out his present agreement and leave on a Bosman free in 2010.


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Barry, 28, has been at Villa for nearly 12 years and boss O'Neill is so keen to keep his skipper that he would sacrifice a �9m transfer fee now for another season's service.

Meanwhile, Bulgarian midfielder Stiliyan Petrov has signed a new four-year deal at Villa Park. Petrov, 29, said: “These players are going to get better and better. I want to be a part of that.”

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