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What Does Arsenal's Interest in Gareth Barry Mean?

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COMMENTARY | Manchester City's Gareth Barry is the latest player to be linked with Arsenal. The defensive midfielder is said to be a £4 million target for the Gunners. Barry would fill the void left by Alex Song when the Cameroon international left Arsenal for Barcelona last year.

Signing Barry would appear to be an unusual move for Arsenal boss, Arsène Wenger, as the manager usually prefers to buy younger players and not players over the age of 30. The 32-year-old Barry has played an important part of Manchester City's squad since moving from Aston Villa in 2009. He has made 132 Premier League appearances for City in four seasons with the team.

However, Barry's playing time could be cut short in the upcoming season with newly appointed Manchester City manager, Manuel Pellegrini, buying fellow defensive midfielder Fernandinho from Shakhtar Donetsk for £30 million. With Barry only having a year left on his contract, City may want to get something for the England international now, rather than have him leave for nothing next summer.

The interest in Barry from Arsenal could very well mean that Wenger does not see another defensive midfielder on the market who has good value. The Frenchman is known for his preference in buying players at good value, rather than breaking the bank for a player.

Arsenal has previously been linked to defensive midfielders such as Maxime Gonalons (appears keen on staying with Lyon), Victor Wanyama (may be in the verge of joining Southampton for £12.5 million), and Lars Bender (Arsenal had a bid reportedly rebuffed from Bayer Leverkusen for Bender).

With Gonalons, Wanyama, and Bender seemingly either staying with their current clubs, or leaving for another club, Wenger may be left trying to lure Barry to the Emirates. Arsenal would most likely offer a one year contract to Barry (with a possibility of a second year option). This would essentially mean that Barry would be a bandage for the Arsenal midfield, until the summer market opens in either 2014 or 2015.

One option that Wenger could (and probably should) continue to monitor is Toulouse's Etienne Capoue. Capoue appears to be just what Arsenal needs in midfield and the 24-year-old's price tag is seemingly reasonable at around £11 million. However, the French international may be difficult to obtain with Everton, Spurs, Monaco, and PSG all reportedly interested in the talented defensive midfielder.

Christopher Moore has been following Arsenal Football Club for over 10 years.

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