In a fine bit of work by his agent, Willie McKay, Premiership clubs are now aware that Manchester City have to let any bidders of at least 5.5 million speak to Joey Barton about a transfer,
“Joey Barton is entitled to speak to any club that makes an offer of Â£5.5m.” McKay told Sky Sports News.
“Manchester City can’t turn that down and refuse him permission to open talks. It’s then up to Joey Barton whether he wants to leave or whether he wants to stay.”
Assuming Stuart Pearce hasn’t since beaten Willie within an inch of his life, we can’t see how this won’t spark a host of clubs into action. Barton seems to have moderated his nutter-ish behaviour off the pitch, and on it he’s exactly the kind of midfielder who thrives in the Premiership and delights supporters. Hard working, leadership, tough tackling, eye for goal and a bit of a nasty edge to him. A mini Steven Gerrard, if you will.
Despite signing over 1 million midfielders in the past few years, Tottenham could use him to toughen up their soft midfield. Everton are already interested, and his presence is exactly what clubs like Aston Villa, Newcastle or West Ham could use to help drive them up the table – and at 5.5 million he’d be a steal considering that Watford are asking 10 million for Ashley Young.