Aston Villa captain Gareth Barry is refusing to back down over his transfer demands and re-iterated his desire to join Liverpool during his first meeting with manager Martin O’Neill following his suspension.
O’Neill revealed the latest complication in the Barry saga from the team base in Denmark where Villa, minus their skipper, are preparing for their Intertoto Cup third round first leg clash against Odense BK.
The Villa manager also confirmed that he has abandoned his interest in Blackburn and England winger David Bentley after having a bid rejected and will now pursue alternative targets.
O’Neill met with Barry and his representative Alex Black at the club’s Bodymoor Heath training complex on Thursday, but an injury has prevented the midfielder from travelling with the Villa squad.
Barry, a summer-long target for Liverpool, returned to training last week after being banned from club premises and fined two weeks wage for a stinging verbal attack on his manager in a national newspaper.
The protracted transfer is still some way off a resolution with Villa chairman Randy Lerner waiting to hear back from Liverpool chief executive Rick Parry after outlining Villa’s asking price for the England player.
“I spoke to Gareth and his agent on Thursday at the training ground and Gareth reiterated his wish to go to Liverpool,” said O’Neill.
“That’s fine that’s something I’ve accepted now for some time. There were discussions last weekend with Randy Lerner and Rick Parry, round about the time that we were out in Switzerland.
“We put something to Liverpool on Monday and they haven’t come back to us.
“So I have to assume that something will get resolved. I didn’t say there was no way back for Gareth. Gareth has reiterated it and I was as disappointed as I was before.
“All I will say is that Liverpool are the ones who are pushing the issue now that we’ve put proposals that we think are very fair to them we’re waiting back to hear from them.
“We haven’t heard back since Monday so I really couldn’t tell you what Liverpool are thinking.”
O’Neill cast doubt over whether even a fully-fit Barry would have been considered for selection against Odense BK at the Fionia Park stadium tonight.
The manager’s patience is being tested by the drawn-out deal and he believes a quick resolution would be in the interests of all parties.
“Gareth has reiterated his wish to join Liverpool so it would depend on frames of mind and would depend on all sorts of things,” said O’Neill.
“This is what I’ve said and that’s where it ends because I’m not in control of all this particular saga and it has been drawn out and I don’t think it’s been on our part.
“Gareth mentioned that he’d like to go way back at the beginning of June after he came back from with Trinidad and Tobago. He hasn’t changed so that’s it.
“Now it’s a matter of getting what we would consider to be a fair price and so far Liverpool have not responded to us since Monday.
“I think for all concerned it would be better if it could be concluded one way or the other but I would assume that Liverpool would be pressing forward now as they had done previously in the first issue.”
Meanwhile, Villa have ended their attempt to sign Bentley after a reported £10 million offer was turned down by the Ewood Park club.
“I will tell you we put an offer in for Bentley which we thought was fair but it was rejected,” added O’Neill.
“This was a long time ago and we’ve not pursued that since so we’re moving on.
“We’ve got outer people we would be very keen to bring to the football club, all pretty decent players.”