Barry joined Barcelona in July after leaving West Bromwich Albion and it was reported at the time that he turned down a more lucrative offer from Paris Saint-Germain in the process.
The transfer hasn’t been without controversy as it was revealed in early December that West Brom were threatening to report Barcelona to FIFA over an alleged refusal to pay what was only nominal compensation of €250,000 (£235,000).
Now, the 16-year-old is set to return home to England and join Aston Villa, the club his family supports. ESPN reports that Villa are close to a €1.5m (£1.27m) agreement with Barcelona and are Barry’s ‘first-choice destination’ ahead of Manchester United and Liverpool.
In joining Villa, Barry will reunite with former West Brom academy coach Mark Harrison. He is also tipped to very quickly be around the first-team, initially starting at Under-23 level, despite his age. ESPN even cites one source predicting a first-team debut for the youngster this season.
The ESPN report also explains the difficulties that Barry, who has been based at Barcelona’s famed La Masia academy, has faced in Spain.
It’s purely football. Louie’s adapted well off the pitch in terms of friends, studies etc. Decision to come to Barca was for the football (PSG offered way more cash) && decision to go to Villa, if it finally goes through, instead of a big six PL club is for the football.
— Samuel Marsden (@samuelmarsden) January 7, 2020
It started with delayed FIFA registration preventing a competitive debut until October, by which time there had been a coaching change. Despite a strong start, Barry struggled for game time and ESPN explains that people close to him have bemoaned broken promises from Barcelona.
Barry has been with the Under-19 team this season, but his camp would apparently have been happy for him to be part of the Under-17 setup just to get more game time – even in the younger age group he would still have been one of the youngest players.
From Barcelona’s perspective, there is a suggestion that Barry has lacked patience, although the report also explains that the Catalans are ‘reluctant’ to let him go.
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