The common cliche is that experience is the best teacher. And there is no doubt the former captain of Aston Villa has this in abundance. Yet there are times when experience departs from the path of being a positive when instead of serving as something that is met to improve a team, it ends up being an hindrance. As it stands, every club seeks to get players who are at par with those at the club or where possible those that are even better as the case may be.
But in the case Gareth Barry, he is already way into his thirties (33). Some will say being at that age can serve as a positive instead of an hindrance to a team. The case of Andre Pirlo who is still doing it at (35) comes into play. Yet. It begs the question because, their styles could be argued as different. And the Italian league suits players of a certain age because of it slow pace.
Without doubt Gareth Barry had a brilliant season with Everton this past season anchoring the midfield. With his performance against Chelsea at Goodison Park coming in for wide applause and praise. Yet that was Everton and the stakes at Arsenal are quite different. Although his time at Manchester City was a success in terms of his direct contribution, there is a reason why Manuel Pellegrini opted to send him on loan last season. With his age, he has become rather slow to the fast paced movement of other teams thereby having to make up for that in committing avoidable fouls. Such a player becomes more of a liability when chasing a game as he lacks the pace to cover adequately against counter attacks. It is telling that he was always the person sacrificed when Roberto Mancini’s Manchester City was chasing a game during the Italian’s last season.
Juxtaposing his attributes to the current playing personnel at Arsenal, in its position lies Mikel Arteta (32) and Mathieu Flamini (30) while the former is blessed with technical ability, his pace overtime has eluded him because of age, and bringing in a player like Gareth Barry who also lacks pace will not serve any purpose of improving the team. While Mathieu Flamini is without doubt energetic, yet he falls short in terms of the required technical ability of staying wholly disciplined in midfield. Which is why despite their place in the team, the club still requires the need of a defensive midfielder which was evident by the pursuit of Luis Gustavo and Lars Bender last summer.
Yet the players currently in the books of the clubs in terms of Gareth Barry’s position even with their short comings as a player are clearly better than him, which requires that if the rumour mill becomes a factual wind, he clearly would not be an improvement on the fortunes of the team.