I've met several Americans that know a thing or two about football but I'm not convinced our owner knows that much and I'm not convinced he's spoken to anyone today either.
I know I know, I'm going to be seen as the negative one, but all this that we are reading from Lerner today about Barry is all PA Sport; a press release! The words have been typed out by someone and sent to PA Sport who have typed something up and sent it to everyone that subscribes to PA Sport and they all then fire out a news item based on the words faxed or emailed to PA Sport.
Randy Lerner, May 26th 2009
We have discussed a new contract with Gareth. I would give Barry the highest ranking possible. He is the best. He is a gentleman, a great player, a pleasure to be around, a leader, a great captain. I don't think anyone could do better than Gareth on any level. Am I optimistic Gareth will stay? Yes, I am optimistic. It is my nature. He is currently really speaking to Martin O'Neill and that is the natural process. They will get into it and it will all get handled in the normal ways.
Am I happy for him to wind down his current contract? That's his decision. If it means he is staying another year, I am absolutely happy. Even though Villa would lose £10-£12m? Yes, absolutely. You are talking about a player who is an integral part of your potential success. That is in terms of playing more games to winning competitions etc. That is similarly lucrative [to a transfer fee this summer] when you think about what you can achieve with a player like that. It is not like you forego the proceeds and you are getting nothing back. You are keeping him on the team, the team continues to compete and you are rewarded with successful results. There is more to do it than foregoing money.
I'm not convinced Barry is a great captain I'm fairly confident that a lot of players could do better than Gareth and yes, I've got a thing about Barry, but don't forget this was the player last season who said there was no turning back and that he had to leave.
The thing is, Randy Lerner owns the club but £10mn. now for Gareth Barry or have him for one more season; are you mad Lerner? Take the money!
As for the team competing and getting rewarded with successful results. Has he not been around Villa Park recently? The kind of form we have shown this year, not just the last month or two but the entire year, would get us relegated next season. Stop talking Lerner and start making investments.
We need significant investment this summer and Lerner has to drive that investment. He has to tell O'Neill that he needs to bring in more players of similar and higher skills than the ones we have if we are to get to the top four places next season, but more importantly stay in them. What was it O'Neill said; we have a small squad. Well, make it bigger!
Right, that is out of the way and I know I'm knocking Lerner, but every national newspaper got the same quotes (word for word) out at the same time. It's not that Lerner is speaking to them, it's just that they all got the press release at the same time and I gotta tell you, I'm not sure if I'm happy with an owner that will only talk to us through press releases.
Anyway, to the speculation; O'Neill might be tempted with a move back to Celtic but if he isn't and he gets lots of money to spend he might be spending it on Anderlecht defender Roland Juhasz. That is the 24th Anderlecht player we have been linked to this year, maybe one of them will be coming?
In other speculation Paul Scharner has had his name mentioned again and the figure of £3mn. was in the same sentence; not convinced myself, however there is one bit of news today that I am 100% certain of and that is that I'm going to go hit a few golf balls. That is it for now, abuse me for daring to have a pop at Lerner below.