O'Neill aims to bolster squad

18 June 2009 12:29
Martin O'Neill has spoken of his need to strengthen his Aston Villa squad ahead of the start of the new season. O'Neill guided a compact Villa squad to a sixth-placed finish in the Premier League last season but has since lost key midfielder Gareth Barry to Manchester City and influential defender Martin Laursen to retirement. "We're on the lookout. We want to strengthen the side. We've lost Gareth but we're hoping to be in a position to replace him," O'Neill told the club's official website. "Having looked at the market and watched what has developed with the major transfers - Kaka and Ronaldo particularly - you can definitely say it's interesting times. "We're going to have to try and improve - even to stand still in this league. Manchester City and Tottenham will be looking to improve and I envisage Everton being strong again." Meanwhile, O'Neill has wished Barry well following his decision to join City in a £12million deal. The England midfielder came close to joining Liverpool last summer in a protracted transfer before finally leaving the Midlands club earlier this month. O'Neill added: "It would have been fantastic if he'd stayed. It happened early so we didn't have the debacle we faced the previous season. But that wasn't too important to me. "It would just have been great if he'd stayed on another year. I was disappointed to lose him. "He wanted to go and he felt Manchester City was the right stage so I won't argue, particularly when you consider the number of years he spent at the football club. "It's happened now but he's been a fantastic servant and I wish him all the very best. "I worked with him for three years, he hardly missed a game and he cemented his place in the national side and has done exceptionally well overall. I'm sure he'll go from strength to strength."

Source: ESA

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