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Two views on a potential Gareth Barry signing

Tottenham Hotspur have been linked to Gareth Barry. Let's talk about this.

Mike Hewitt

Earlier on Thursday, Tottenham Hotspur were linked to Gareth Barry. Two of Cartilage Free Captain's editors have different views on this subject.

Bryan: Gareth Barry isn't very good, nor is he the worst

Lots of people don't like Gareth Barry. They think he's a average, at best, footballer who has had the good fortune to play for a very good Manchester City side for the last few seasons. I'm not exactly a fan of Gareth Barry, but I don't think his potential acquisition would be the worst thing ever.

Think about it this way: at the beginning of the 2012-13 season Tottenham had a holding midfielder in Sandro and a dynamic, powerful, dribbling midfielder in Mousa Dembele. In December, Sandro gets injured and Scott Parker is thrust into the starting lineup. Instead of playing as the holding midfielder to Dembele, Parker suddenly becomes the dribbling midfielder and, despite the team winning matches, he looks bad doing so. Gareth Barry would not do that.

Sure, you can argue that Gareth Barry wouldn't do that because he is bad at football and cannot dribble or not score on his own net or do other important things that a footballer should do. However, Jamie Carragher couldn't do any of those things either and he's a Liverpool legend. Returning to reality, Barry isn't actually that bad. He's a pretty good passer from deep. He completed the seventh most passes per game of any player in the Premier League last season (via Whoscored). He completed 1.2 key passes per game and his 86% pass completion percentage was better than the likes of David Silva and Steven Gerrard. On defense he chipped in with 2.1 tackles per game and 1.4 interceptions per game.

Look, Barry is 32 years old and not getting any better, but he's still better than Scott Parker and he fits more cleanly into this team as a holding player than Scott Parker does. Sure, he's not that mobile anymore, but neither is Tom Huddlestone and we love him. Barry certainly has a role as a late game substitute because he's not just a defensive midfielder, but also a capable possession recycler. Plus if he has to start, it wouldn't be the end of the world.

If Barry wants to take a HUUUUGE pay-cut and come play for Spurs, that's great. He wouldn't be the worst signing. Every team needs a wily veteran with a decent pedigree, so why can't Barry do that for us? We can't only buy 18 year-old wonderkids.

Kevin: Just kidding, our views aren't that different. Gareth Barry sucks.

Quick: Name a football-related thing that Gareth Barry performs at a Champions League level. Give up? You should, because you can't name one. If you do name one, you're delusional. There's nothing -- not one freaking thing -- that Gareth Barry does at a truly high level. He is a nothing footballer. He is a warm body who manages to avoid completely embarrassing himself. Congrats!

How this random average at everything, not good at anything player managed to con his way into massive wages, a starting spot on a Champions League team and 53 England caps, I haven't the slightest idea. He's not any different than Jake Livermore, or [insert random relegation-battler's starting midfielder here]. He's just a guy.

There are two-dozen other English midfielders like Gareth Barry. You know, the guys who get branded with "he'll keep you up" or "he'll get you promoted", but rarely does either. He's the exact same player as every other low Premier League/high Championship English midfielder, except someone became convinced that he's a star somewhere along the line and it completely altered the trajectory of his career.

Is this guy really better than Leon Britton? Jack Colback? Bradley Johnson? Glenn Whelan? Mark Noble? James McArthur? City or England could put any of these players into their team over Barry and notice no difference, except for the rare moment when they attempt to do something other than remain completely invisible.

I'm sorry if this sounds harsh on Gareth Barry, who is a decent professional and by all accounts, a decent guy. He's better than 80 percent of midfielders on earth and deserves to make a good living as a professional footballer. He just deserves to do that at a lower level than the top seven of the Premier League, and there are at least a half-dozen players who should be above him in the England pecking order. Including Scott Parker, who was crap last season.

If we sign Barry, I will openly question every decision that Andre Villas-Boas, Daniel Levy and Franco Baldini make for the rest of their employment with Tottenham Hotspur.

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