Gareth Barry writes letter to Aston Villa fans explaining his move to Manchester City
He made specific reference to the impression made on him by Mark Hughes, the City manager, as having persuaded him yet further that Eastlands are set to become a "major force" in the near future. The midfielder last night signed a £12m deal to become City's first signing of the summer, and is understood to have taken a salary increase that will earn him in the region of £100,000-a-week, but he insisted that it was his new manager's plans, and their readiness to pay Villa's asking price (so unlike Liverpool last summer) that has convinced him to move to City. Related ArticlesMan City sign £12m BarryHughes in hurry to reinforceBarry's City move an embarrassment to VillaTop 20 transfer targetsPremier League Transfer TalkIreland commits future to Man CityHe also said that he had "a massive fear of going stale and falling into a comfort zone". "Once I had spoken to Mark Hughes there was nowhere else I wanted to go," he said. "They were the club prepared to meet the valuation, which for a 28-year-old with a year left on his contract, I think shows how much they wanted me. I feel I am joining a club that will seriously challenge to win major honours, people might doubt that, but I am convinced with the plans the club has and the backing the manager will receive from the owners, that we will be a major force." Barry, who flew to Kazakhstan on England duty today, also explained that his position in the national squad had a bearing on his move to Eastlands. He believes that Hughes will allow him to operate in his favoured position without fear of being rotated, allowing him the best chance to showcase his talents ahead of the World Cup. He said: "The World Cup next year has always been a major part of my thinking. I feel at City I will get the chance to play regularly in my best position and play a big part in a successful side." After all of his protestations last season that he would only want to leave Villa so that he might play Champions League football, it is unsurprising that accusations of mercenary behaviour have been levelled at the 28-year-old. O'Neill said earlier in the season that no one would begrudge him the move after 12 years of service at the club, but fans have not been so understanding. That Barry has felt the need to explain his decision publicly, and so quickly after making it – rather than waiting until a first press conference at City – suggests that he understands the supporters' annoyance, even if his claim that he has not left "under a cloud" is blinkered. "I am glad I never left last summer because I would have left under a cloud," he said. "This year I feel things are different. I want to thank them [the Villa fans] for the incredible support I have received over the last 12 years. For the rest of my life Aston Villa will be the first result I look for."
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