Gareth Barry on verge of breaking Premier League record; signs for West Bromwich Albion

The experienced midfielder is just 4 appearances shy of Ryan Giggs' all time Premier League appearances record.

Everton's Gareth Barry
Everton's Gareth Barry looks dejected Reuters

Everton's talismanic former England midfielder Gareth Barry has signed for West Bromwich Albion on an initial one-year deal for £1m, with the option of a further 12 months, as reported by the Express.

The 36-year-old veteran is just five games away from overhauling Ryan Giggs' record-breaking milestone of most Premier League appearances of all time. He has made 628 Premier League appearances since making his debut at 17 – just four short of Giggs'.

Baggies boss Tony Pulis hopes that Barry will be a fitting replacement for departed Darren Fletcher.
"There was a big void when we lost 'Fletch' and Gareth will fill that void," Pulis said on Albion's official website.

His new boss hailed him as a "fantastic player", as reported by the Dailymail. "He's a fantastic player and I think his attitude towards playing is really gauged by the fact that Everton had offered him a two-year contract to stay there."

Barry becomes the fourth new signing at West Brom this summer after the acquisitions of Jay Rodriguez, Zhang Yuning and Ahmed Hegazi.

Everton boss Ronald Koeman would have liked to hold on to Barry but the club's summer spending has made competition for places fierce at Goodison Park, and the expected arrival of Gylfi Sigurdsson from Swansea for around £45m deal on Wednesday, would have seen Barry fall even further down the pecking order.

Barry started his career at Brighton before joining Aston Villa, where he made his debut against Sheffield Wednesday in 1998.

Barry joined the Toffees from City on loan in 2013, helping them finish fifth before securing a permanent deal the following summer.

He departs Everton after three years but has praised the fans for being 'brilliant'. He said on Everton's official website: "I have had four great years at Everton. The fans have been brilliant with me from the day I signed until the day I left. I am proud that the club will always be a big part of my career.

"There are too many people to thank, but I would like to mention a few of them - the chairman Bill Kenwright, (former manager) Roberto Martinez who brought me to Goodison, Ronald Koeman whom I have enjoyed working with, the staff at the club and some great team-mates - and of course the fans. Look forward to seeing you all again."