Gareth Barry agreed his staggering £25million five-year deal with Manchester City at secret talks in Dubai a week ago, Sportsmail can reveal.
The midfielder completed his £12m move from Aston Villa after a medical yesterday, but the groundwork had already been done thousands of miles away.
While Liverpool were wondering whether an £8m bid might be enough to lure the 28-year old away, with just 12 months left on his Villa contract, he was locked in talks with City's billionaire owners about helping launch a spectacular summer of unprecedented spending.
Barry was on holiday with family and friends in Dubai last week when he met a City delegation and sat open-mouthed at a sales pitch that not only included a double-your-money pay packet but the firm promise of more big-name signings.
He explained how he had set his sights on joining Liverpool, after insisting he wanted to be playing Champions League football next season, and outlined his fears that he could be portrayed as a money-grabber by moving to Eastlands, instead.
But City's negotiators won him over by assuring him that Carlos Tevez's signing was in the bag and that up to six more top names would be following them into Mark Hughes' squad for a money-no-object tilt at breaking into the top four.
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Atletico Madrid striker Diego Forlan, the newly-crowned Golden Boot winner after scoring 32 goals in La Liga, and Everton defender Joleon Lescott are next on the list, and Barry firmly believes a Champions League campaign may be only 12 months away.
'He knows people will look at what he has been offered (£130,000 a week) and think he has only gone there for the money,' said a City source.
'But it was the assurances about who else is coming in that swayed him. He only agreed after being convinced that Tevez is on his way, and there are plenty more to follow.'
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