It is one of the inevitable stories of the summer and it wouldn't matter if we finished third, it would still start up, but because we're no longer in the top four and Gareth Barry has already publicly said he wants Champions League football next season, I don't suppose we should be surprised it's started early.
But if you were Gareth Barry, who would you pick, because it appears now, if the rumours are to be believed, that Arsenal are also interested.
I mean, if we are currently part of the two teams currently challenging to break into the top four, along with Everton, both of these teams are part of that group of two looking at breaking the top two monopoly of Manchester United and Chelsea.
While at the start of the season supporters from Arsenal and Liverpool will have much greater hope than most other sets of supporters of winning the Premier League, it soon diminishes.
Arsenal last one it in the 2003/04 season and Liverpool never have. You've actually got to go back to the 1989/90 season for when Liverpool last won the top flight league and if you're looking just at the Premier League, we've finished as high as them.
But this isn't about who is the bigger club with us included, it's clear as day that Liverpool and Arsenal are both bigger than us and at the beginning of each season they've got every right to feel more confident than us, but if you were Gareth Barry, where would you go? I suppose the question really is, which of the two has the better chance to break into the top two?
The smart money has to be Liverpool, but Arsenal will be an attractive package also. But, for a moment, pretend you are Gareth Barry and pick one and explain why.
Naturally, this could all be pointless as we can still finish where Gareth Barry wants us to finish, but even Martin O'Neill accepts it will be hard to keep the player if we don't, even though he is still confident we can.
Gareth has spent 10 years here. If we don't make the top four no-one could begrudge him a move.Martin O'Neill, March 13th 2009