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City steal march on bigger rivals by signing 12m Barry

ENGLAND midfielder Gareth Barry last night insisted joining Manchester City had been an easy decision after sealing a surprise &pound;12m switch from Aston Villa.<br /><br />The 28-year-old ended a year of uncertainty over his future by signing a five-year contract with the big-spending Eastlands outfit that will see his wages almost double to &pound;90,000-a-week.<br /><br />Barry was on the brink of joining Liverpool last summer only for the deal to collapse over the &pound;18m price tag, and was only thought likely to end his 12-year stay at Villa for a team in the Champions League. Instead super-rich but still-improving City, who finished 10th in the Premier League, swooped to complete an eyebrow-raising transfer.<br /><br />And Barry, whose contract was due to expire next year, said he did not need to be convinced to join a club that ended the season four places below Villa, who qualified for Europe.<br /><br />&ldquo;I&rsquo;m delighted to be joining City,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;It didn&rsquo;t take much persuasion from manager Mark Hughes, they are heading in the direction I want to go. There&rsquo;s great potential here, and I&rsquo;m sure there will be a few more additions this summer.&rdquo;<br /><br />Barry&rsquo;s arrival is likely to be the first of a busy summer at Eastlands, as the club flexes its unrivalled financial muscle. And having seen off Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham, Hughes was delighted to get his man.<br /><br />&ldquo;Gareth is widely acknowledged as one of the top midfielders in the Premier League, and that is a recommendation in itself,&rdquo; said Hughes.<br /><br />&ldquo;When players of his quality become available then you have to be in the market for them, so we are absolutely delighted that we have been able to conclude this deal.&rdquo;<br /><br />Barry will fly out to Kazakhstan today with the England squad for Saturday&rsquo;s World Cup qualifier but was given time out yesterday to travel to Manchester for a medical and to discuss personal terms.