Many people believe that Joey Barton is as good as any other English midfielder in the Premier League, although he is a player whose career has been marred by controversy and the latest twist has seen the 28-year-old placed on the Newcastle United transfer list.
Barton had already tested the patience of the Tyneside club by angling for an improved contract over the summer and his comments on Twitter deriding Newcastle for allowing Kevin Nolan to leave were also thought to have infuriated Mike Ashley.
After Sunday’s friendly defeat at Leeds, Barton suggested that there was discontent in the dressing room and the Magpies have responded by issuing a statement which reads: “Newcastle United can confirm that Joey Barton has been placed on the transfer list. The player has been advised that he can leave the club on a free transfer.”
Barton reacted by saying: “Somewhere in those high echelons of NUFC, they have decided, I am persona non grata. I am on a free but the honour of wearing those B+W stripes, surpasses that. One day the board might realise, what the shirt signifies. HONOUR and PRIDE. Thanks for your continued support …”
Barton was one of the key players in ensuring Newcastle steered well clear of trouble last season, although the midfielder will now be looking for another club as the new season approaches.