Aston Villa's Stiliyan Petrov signs new deal
Aston Villa v Newcastle UnitedKick-off: Sun May 24, 4.00pm, Villa Park, BirminghamTV: Sky Sports 1, Sky Sports HD1Radio: BBC Radio Five Live The Bulgarian international signed the deal, which will see him tied to the club until 2013, this morning. Petrov, who signed for Villa from Celtic for £6.5 million in 2006, has become one of Martin O'Neill's key players this season, with impressive performances which have earned him the praise of his fellow team-mates and fans, who last week voted him Players' and Supporters' Player of the Season. Tying the 29-year-old down to another contract is as good a way to begin the summer as O'Neill could have hoped for, as it will send out an important message to his players who could well be unsettled by the possibility that Gareth Barry may move to Liverpool. Petrov's commitment had not been in much doubt, but he did suggest earlier in the season that whether he signed a new contract could turn on the club's ability to retain Barry in the summer, so it will be a relief to have the agreement sewn up before the end of the season. 'Gareth staying would be a big influence on my future,' he said in February. 'If we keep Gareth it will also send out a message to all the players that we are in for something big next year.' Petrov has turned out in 35 league games this season, scoring the one goal against Stoke City at Villa Park. He has also played in seven Uefa Cup matches, three FA Cup games and one League Cup match. The club have also been busy regarding Barry, to whom they have offered a new contract. Initial reports stating that the club would offer the midfielder £75,000-a-week are understood to be generous, however. It is more likely that Barry would receive £65,000-a-week if he stayed.
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