Is West Brom’s Gareth Barry A Good Replacement For Darren Fletcher?

Written by Sam Bettany

To the displeasure of Aston Villa fans, veteran Gareth Barry signed a one year deal with West Bromwich Albion for £1m on Tuesday from Everton.

Having spent four seasons with the Merseyside club, Barry now joins his fourth club since starting his senior career back in 1997/98 with Aston Villa.

The deal sees Barry become the replacement for the departing Darren Fletcher who joined Stoke City earlier in the window.

Baggies manager Tony Pulis admitted “There was a big void when we lost ‘Fletch’ and Gareth will fill that void”.

Some career stats:

Despite there only being three years difference in age and debut seasons, Barry has nearly double the league appearances of Fletcher, mainly due to fitness and not maintaining a place in Manchester United’s first team.

However Barry has a much poorer disciplinary record, having received 35 yellow cards in his previous four seasons, whereas Fletcher just received just five.

Barry does still offer more going forward, having provided five goals and nine assists over his last four seasons with Everton whilst Fletcher has scored four and assisted six times.

Why move?

With Everton having an extremely active summer transfer window, Barry turned down the option to remain a part of the setup at Goodison Park and has instead joined the only Birmingham-based club left in the Premier League.

Entering his 21st season in the Premier League, the 36 year-old is just five appearances away to breaking the record of most appearances in the Premier League, set by Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs.

There is a sense that Barry has made the move to the Hawthorns to become a key asset for the team and not to just stack up extra appearances and break individual records.

I want to come and help the team. That’s always been the same for me wherever I have played,” Barry said.

“I want to help the team improve, work hard and hopefully add quality.”

What do you think of the move? Does this signing fill the ‘big void’ Pulis had in his squad? Let us know in the comments below!