Newcastle United confirmed today that Joey Barton has been transfer listed and will be able to leave the club on a free transfer. This follows what owner Mike Ashley considers to be unacceptable comments made by the player on Twitter.
There will be many clubs after Barton’s signature. In recent weeks, Arsenal, Tottenham, Everton, Aston Villa and even Manchester United have been linked with the former Manchester City man.
Though a few eyebrows would be raised if Barton were to move to one of the big clubs in the Premiership, the money that will be saved on any transfer fee can now be put towards Barton’s reported £60,000-a-week wages.
Barton has been vocal in his criticism of the club believing huge investment is needed to avoid fighting for relegation. Having seen two of the club’s best players in Andy Carroll and Kevin Nolan leave in the past six months, Barton has become disenfranchised with life at St. James’ Park.
And were the midfielder to leave, it is fair to say that Mike Ashley could expect some sort of backlash from fans. Again, it seems the fan-turned-owner of the club has allowed his personal feelings to dictate the club’s transfer policy, rather than doing what is best for the club.
With four goals and nine assists last term, Barton’s quality and contribution to the team has never been questioned.
And for his part, Barton seems to have been expressing the wishes of fans. Having been promised investment in the squad following Andy’s Carroll’s high profile move, fans were expecting bigger name signings than those brought in.
Barton too is no fool. Whereas Ashley seems to have screwed the club out of a few million quid which could be raised from a sale, Barton will now take advantage of this to secure a higher wage than would previously had been offered.
And with key defender Jose Enrique rumoured to depart, times are worrying for Newcastle fans, especially with the clueless Ashley at the helm.