With it known that West Bromwich Albion planned to offer experienced former Everton midfielder Gareth Barry a new contract extension once he had returned to fitness, the 38-year-old former England man has continued to work with us over the summer and through the 2019/20 season and speaking ahead of the weekend’s clash with Charlton Athletic, manager Slaven Bilic gave us an update on the talks.
With it believed that we had paid Everton a nominal fee for his services back in 2017 when he first made the switch, The Athletic – as per the Express and Star have no claimed that instead of an upfront fee, we actually agreed to pay a set sum per appearance – with a cap of £1.5million.
Barry has 55 games under his belt at the club, but apparently that fee wasn’t reached and despite being released and being a free agent, it seems Everton are trying to chance their arm and insist that the original deal continues to apply to his new deal.
Given Barry could in fact still sign terms at any club as a free agent, West Brom are arguing that rightly the old deal is now over and has long expired. Although we remain in talks apparently.
“Gareth has to sign a contract. There is a small issue with Everton. It is all agreed between us and Gareth. But there is an issue with Everton, of course, a financial one. And until that is sorted he can’t sign a contract. And until he signs that contract he can’t play for us, not even in the under-23s. It is very frustrating for both him and for us because he is training with us – all that he needs is few games. It’s one thing to train but after a long break it’s another thing completely to play games on a big pitch. But that is the situation, that is the situation why he is not involved in any of the games.”
If there is a clause on any future deal, it’s understandable as to why Everton have made an issue of it, as if the boot was on the other foot we would look to hold another club to their agreed obligations, but given he can now sign for anyone, this certainly sounds like a strange arrangement, but Bilic remains confident it will soon be resolved.
“It is disappointing and frustrating for him, it is disappointing and frustrating for me as a manager. I spoke yesterday with Luke Dowling and Mark Jenkins and Ke Xu – we had a long chat about that and we are doing everything. But there is that little clause with Everton that’s been there since he came here, that we are trying to sort out and hopefully we will do it as soon as possible.”
I would imagine this will be concluded pretty quickly next week as it sounds like he’s pencilled in for the Under 23 game on Monday, so we’ll want to sort this quickly.