Gareth Barry could yet be staying put at Aston Villa after Juventus unwittingly threw a spanner in the works and his impending move to Liverpool last night by cooling their interest in Xabi Alonso.
The Italians revealed they were looking at other midfielders in the Italian press throwing Villa manager Martin O'Neill a lifeline in his fight with Liverpool to keep his "Captain Fantastic".
Reds boss Rafa Benitez is reliant on the sale of Alonso to the Serie A side in a £16 million move to fund the purchase of Villa midfielder Barry after O'Neill ruled out any cash plus player deals and also rejected Liverpool's latest offer for the England midfielder - a bid in excess of £13 million.
Liverpool's Spanish boss was dealt the hammer blow yesterday when Juventus - who have themselves taken a Villa player this summer in Swedish defender Olof Mellberg - announced they were switching their attention from Alonso to Bayern Munich midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger.
The Alonso deal had looked almost done and dusted earlier this week with the Spanish player's agent travelling to Turin for talks with club officials but Juve officials have now admitted that manager Claudio Ranieri is now looking at other players. It is thought the former Chelsea boss is put off by the high asking price Liverpool are demanding for their star.
O’Neill, a television punduit at the European Championships out in Austria and Switzerland, said yesterday that he felt Liverpool needed to show him some respect when biding for his skipper and make a fair offer.He has so far insisted he will not sell his star man unless the price is right and is thought to be hanging out for an improved offer,
He said: "He (Barry) was the last person to have the captain’s armband in the last England game – so the offer Liverpool have made is just not acceptable even though they have upped it.
O'Neill has conceded however that he will not stand in his captain's way after he admitted he wanted to move to Merseyside. The Northern Irishman however will not allow Barry to go unless he feels the price is right.
Liverpool have so far had three bids refused for 27-year-old Barry who has served ten years in claret and blue and was due a testimonal this summer.
In what has been a black couple of days up on Merseyside for Benitez, the Liverpool manager also learned yesterday that newly appointed Chelsea boss Luis Felipe Scolari may be targetting star striker Fernando Torres after revealing the Spaniard top of his wish-list.
Former Chelsea boss Avram Grant himself tried to entice Torres to Stamford Bridge but was given short shrift from Benitez but Scolari is due to plan a major overhaul of the Blues once his duties with Portugal at the Euros 2008 are dealt with.
He has already been promised all the funding necessary - thought to be in the region of £100 million - to bring Chelsea on next season as they strive to go one better than last season when they just missed out on the Champions League crown losing to Manchester United on penalties in the final in Moscow.