Wednesday, November 30, 2022

West Bromwich Albion Sign This Premier League Veteran: A Masterstroke By Pulis?

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Subhayan Dutta
Subhayan used to be the Featured Columnist at The 4th Official. Completely immersed in football and almost all other sports on planet.

West Bromwich Albion have finally managed to land Gareth Barry from Everton to fill up the gap left by Darren Fletcher’s departure. Reportedly, the 36-year-old arrives at Hawthorns on an initial one-year deal for an undisclosed fee, which makes sense given his age. Barry still had one year left on his contract with Everton and was a regular for Ronald Koeman until last season.

The arrival of Morgan Schneiderlin and Idrissa Gueye last season and the emergence of young Tom Davies from the academy has left little space for Barry this time with the midfielder seeking more regular playing time. Barry couldn’t take part in Everton’s opening game win against Stoke City as he had to sit out with an ankle problem.

After signing for the side, Barry said, “I want to come and help the team. That’s always been the same for me wherever I have played. I want to help the team improve, work hard and hopefully add quality.”

Manager Tony Pulis is known for his ability to get the job done much better with aged legs as was seen last season with Gareth McAuley and Jonas Olsson at the back. And the Welsh manager has managed to pick up an experienced player yet again, who has played over 620 games in the Premier League since breaking into Aston Villa’s senior side back in 1998.

Although not a like for like replacement for Daren Fletcher in terms of aerial dominance, Barry’s technical prowess is definitely way superior to the departed midfielder. This becomes West Brom’s fourth new signing of the summer after the Baggies have brought in Jay Rodriguez, Zhang Yuning and Ahmed Hegazi.

Before their convincing 1-0 win on the opening day of the season against Bournemouth, Pulis had expressed his willingness to add four to five more players to the squad before the transfer window closes and Barry’s arrival hints he wasn’t exaggerating.

Pulis has to work with a very limited budget in the market and he would need more buys like Barry to keep the club’s targets gettable. Though Barry runs the risk of getting injured at such an age, his experience and composure in the midfield could be of tremendous help to the club.

The youth product of Aston Villa, Barry has also played for Manchester City before moving to Everton and was one of England’s national team regulars alongside the likes of Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Michael Carrick. Scoring 47 goals and providing 27 assists for the Villans in 398 games, Barry is the ideal English midfielder one would want in the league. He has earned 53 caps for the Three Lions scoring thrice.

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