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Martinez remains keen on Barry deal

LIVERPOOL -- Gareth Barry is set to speak to Roberto Martinez next week about the possibility of a permanent move to Everton.

Everton's Gareth Barry celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game
Gareth Barry will be available on a free transfer this summer.

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The 33-year-old has made a significant impression during his season's loan from Manchester City, helping the Toffees to fifth place in the Premier League.

Manager Martinez was interested in making Barry's deal permanent in January as part of an ultimately unsuccessful move to bring fellow midfielder Jack Rodwell back to Goodison Park from City on loan.

Everton pursued that idea then because Premier League rules prevent any side taking two players on loan from the same club -- but the deal to buy Barry was shelved when the Rodwell move fell through.

Martinez has made clear he wants to keep Barry, describing him as "an incredible footballer." The England international is out of contract at City this summer, and is considering his options, but will discuss his future with the Everton manager.

Martinez said: "I'm going to be speaking with all the players after the final game. We're going to make sure that we've got a real indication of where we are with every player. It's no different with Gareth.

"He's been an incredible footballer to have, Gareth Barry. He's set really high standards. He's been an example.

"It's no coincidence that we've had so many successful stories among our young players, when we have senior players with such incredible standards."

Despite Barry's help, Everton's push for a Champions League place has fallen short after a run of three defeats in their last four games.

But Europa League qualification has been secured ahead of Sunday's trip to Hull, with the midfielder set to return, having missed last Saturday's 3-2 loss at home to City because he was ineligible to face his parent club under Premier League rules.

Martinez's achievements in guiding his team into Europe have seen him linked with the manager's job at Tottenham. The manager thinks such reports are a "compliment" to Everton.

He said: "We any take any such speculation as a real footballing compliment. This is the time you're going to get the rumours, and you're going to get talk about the next squads and the next moves.

"From our point of view, it means that we've done something right as a football team. We've performed well. "We take it in a positive manner and we carry on working hard."

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