The former England international was released by Queens Park Rangers at the end of his contract, and despite mooted interest from the Premier League—notably from the Hammers—he was ultimately denied the opportunity to return to the top flight.
As reported by the Mirror, Barton believes that his past misdemeanours have cost him the chance of securing an immediate return to the EPL.
“I felt I did well enough last year in a side that was struggling to earn another crack at that league,” he began.
“My playing ability is good enough to cope in that league. But people then start worrying about the baggage and how I’ll contribute to the group or how I’ll react if I’m not playing, which is lazy on their behalf.
“If you’re a Premier League club and you had the opportunity to take me on a free transfer, I think it’s a no-brainer. If you’re anyone from 10th down, it’s a no-brainer.
“But they are lazy in their recruitment, they don’t do their homework, they tune into things you did in 2006 and 2007 rather than look at what’s going on.”
Barton began his senior career at Manchester City after being rejected by both of his local clubs Everton and Liverpool as a youngster.
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After four years at Newcastle United, he moved to Queens Park Rangers, where he remained for the next four years, apart from a loan spell at Marseille.
Beyond his experience, Barton will bring fine passing ability and effective midfield marshalling to the heart of the park for Sean Dyche’s Clarets.