Martin O' Neill has attempted to draw a line under the Gareth Barry saga by saying that Aston Villa's announcement that the midfielder was staying with his current club has brought 'closure' to the affair.
Liverpool have long been linked with the England midfielder as a player to complement club captain Steven Gerrard. Arsenal are also believed to have more than a passing interest in Barry.
As rumours circulated that Barry was set for Anfield in a £19m deal involving full-back Steve Finnan as a makeweight, Villa announced on their website that Barry would be staying with the club and that Liverpool had missed a deadline to sign him.
Villa boss O'Neill said: 'Naturally we're
all absolutely delighted that Gareth will be staying at Villa Park and relieved
to find a resolution and closure to the saga.
'We had a very positive meeting on Monday when it was agreed between Gareth,
his agent (Alex Black), (club owner) Mr (Randy) Lerner and myself that a
deadline should be communicated to Liverpool to finally resolve the situation.
'Liverpool were informed and that deadline came and passed. Now we can all
look forward to the coming season with relief, anticipation and ambition.'
English tabloid rumours suggest that Liverpool had been set a 5pm Wednesday deadline which was missed after a disagreement over payment methods. Liverpool are said to have come up with the deal Villa required by 5.15 but club owner Randy Lerner is said to have turned down that approach flat.
Barry's determination to play Champions League football and cement his England place may yet reignite one of the summer's defining transfer stories.