Gareth Barry has completed his move from Everton to West Brom – with the midfielder thanking the Toffees for ‘four brilliant years’.
The 36-year-old former England midfielder, who missed Everton’s opening Premier League match of the new season against Stoke because of an ankle problem, has signed for the Baggies on an initial one-year deal for an undisclosed fee.
“I want to come and help the team. That’s always been the same for me wherever I have played,” Barry said on West Brom’s official website. “I want to help the team improve, work hard and hopefully add quality.”
Former Aston Villa trainee Barry, who has also played for Manchester City, has made 628 Premier League appearances.
Barry needs to feature in just five more matches to overtake former Manchester United winger Ryan Giggs as the competition’s all-time record appearance holder.
Everton boss Ronald Koeman was open to keeping Barry, but the club’s summer spending has made competition for places fierce at Goodison Park.
The anticipated arrival of Gylfi Sigurdsson from Swansea, who looks set to complete the formalities of a £45million deal on Wednesday, would see the former England international fall further down the pecking order.
Barry joined the Toffees from City on loan in 2013, helping them finish fifth before securing a permanent deal the following summer.
He said on Everton’s 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.”
Albion head coach Tony Pulis has been looking for a replacement for Darren Fletcher in central midfield after he left for Stoke this summer and a player of the experience of Barry fits the bill.
“There was a big void when we lost ‘Fletch’ and Gareth will fill that void,” Pulis said on Albion’s official website.
“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.
“He really wants to play and I’m really looking forward to working with him.”
Barry becomes the fourth new signing at West Brom this summer after the acquisitions of Jay Rodriguez, Zhang Yuning and Ahmed Hegazi.
Pulis said in the build-up to his side’s opening game of the season against Bournemouth that he wanted four or five more additions before the transfer window closed at the end of the month.