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The Toe Poke
By ESPN Staff

Villa braced for renewed Spurs interest in Barry

Aston Villa are expecting Tottenham to revive their interest in unsettled midfielder Gareth Barry.

Spurs and Portsmouth were told earlier in the summer by Villa chairman Doug Ellis that Barry - who supported Tottenham as a youngster - was not for sale.

But the 25-year-old has made it clear he is concerned about Villa's current position with the club up for sale, without a manager and having signed no new players this summer.

Spurs boss Martin Jol has plenty of funds at his disposal after Michael Carrick's £18.6million switch from White Hart Lane to Manchester United.

Barry, who contrary to reports has not handed in a formal transfer request, was signed as a 16-year-old from Brighton and has clocked up more than 300 appearances for the midlands club.

Villa are hoping talks with Barry and his agent during the forthcoming week will allay the fears of the former England Under-21 player and persuade him to stay.

Barry was also a target for Newcastle last season but a possible swap deal involving James Milner never materialised.

Former Celtic and Leicester boss Martin O'Neill remains the favourite to succeed David O'Leary as manager and is believed to be Ellis' preferred choice.

But it is understood one of the consortiums bidding to buy Villa known as 'AV06' would prefer the Danish duo of Michael Laudrup and John Jensen as their managerial team if they take control.

Former Juventus, Real Madrid and Barcelona star Laudrup spent four years as manager of Brondby before parting company with them in May.

Villa are still optimistic American billionaire Randy Lerner, the owner of NFL side Cleveland Browns, will revive his interest in buying the club.

But it is believed Lerner, who favours making O'Neill manager, will conduct his business through financial experts Rothschild rather than directly with Ellis after an unhappy meeting between the pair last week.