O'Neill ready to set deadline for Barry transfer
Liverpool must decide whether to make a renewed bid for Aston Villa captain Gareth Barry after Martin O'Neill warned he is ready to set a deadline for them to meet his valuation.
Villa boss O'Neill claims he has heard nothing from the Merseyside giants since rejecting a fourth offer for the England midfielder earlier this month.
It is unclear whether Liverpool are waiting for Villa to make the next move or if their interest has cooled, with reports suggesting they cannot afford to buy both Barry and Tottenham skipper Robbie Keane, who is their primary striking target.
O'Neill is demanding £18million for Barry, with Keane likely to cost at least that much.
The impasse has prompted the Villa boss to urge Liverpool to clarify their position.
The former Celtic boss is aware he has to make his own plans for the new campaign and needs to know whether he will have the services of Barry.
Already O'Neill is considering using the 27-year-old in Saturday's home Intertoto Cup clash with Odense BK.
But that would not make Barry ineligible to play Champions League football if he eventually moved to Anfield.
O'Neill said: 'It's been unfortunate. We don't know where we stand at this minute.
'Liverpool have not officially come back to us in any form of writing. It is a really awkward position here at this minute.
'At some stage or other there will have to be a timescale on it because we cannot just keep going on like this.
'We have got our own plans to make - and we shouldn't be at the behest of Liverpool Football Club.
'We have to pick up the pieces and I could go on for forever and a day talking about it. It doesn't really matter. We have to see what develops.
'As I say, we have not heard back from them in an official capacity.'
O'Neill is ready to consider Barry on Saturday even though he was the target of abuse from Villa fans during Tuesday's friendly at Walsall.
He said: 'If Gareth is in the right frame of mind then we will explore everything. He will be in contention for Saturday.
'I have never not been impressed with him in two years as to his attitude on the football pitch.
'In fairness, the Intertoto gives us that chance to get into the UEFA Cup, which we set out to get into by one way or another, and Gareth was a major part of that last year.'
O'Neill, who is hoping to complete the signing of Blackburn goalkeeper Brad Friedel, is aware of the need to bring in new blood with the start of the Barclays Premier League campaign only three weeks away.
He said: 'We've lost experienced players like Olof Mellberg and we have to replace them.
'While I am very, very pleased with some of the young players coming through the ranks at Villa, for us to be competing again we need to be competing immediately, as soon as the Premier League season kicks off.
'From day one, that is our aim.'