JOEY BARTON TO SIGN FOR UNITED?
"The manager has publicly stated his desire to keep the player at Manchester City Football Club. A second round of negotiations between the club and the player's representatives took place today and Manchester City wishes to continue those talks."
With the transfer window closing tomorrow City might decide to cash in now. One unconfirmed report suggests Barton was spotted at Old Trafford late this afternoon but then players always are at such times (ahem). OT sources have strenuously denied tonight that anything is afoot, whilst sources close to Barton say that two clubs have come in for him, but not United.
Red Issue readers will already be aware of the situation with Barton after the following was reported in BackBeat in the current mag which came out last week:
Kieran Richardson may not know it but someone has been circulating his availability around the Premiership. One candidate to take him was City, at least until they loaned their Spaniard but for a while, a deal was on the cards to take him and a load of cash to City in exchange for…Joey Barton. Our spy in the Boo Camp reports:
"Barton is out of contract next January, he wanted contract talks a few months ago but they said ‘no’ cos of his behaviour. Since he has gone back on the rails he has become the club’s best player and he wants to be paid like it ... they offered something and it was unacceptable.
"Step forward a new agent, [the notorious Willie McKay] who wants his share: so far ‘Boro, Pompey, United, Chelsea, Newcastle and one other have enquired. City want to be seen to be doing the right thing but behind the scenes they were ready to sell to the highest bidder.
"One of Joey’s gripes is that they claim they stood by him after the incident in Thailand but in fact they fined him £120K."
City have now come to their senses and are preparing to up their offer but is it too late? According to another Red spy, Joey told a sportsman’s dinner at Wastelands in December "something along the lines of keeping his head down, doing his best, and if one of the big clubs comes along in the future like Manchester United etc, then who knows. It went down pretty well actually: I thought there would be uproar! Perhaps they all know they're not really a big club…"