Joey Barton was undoubtedly a controversial figure during his time at Newcastle, from injuries to a jail term and finally some decent football from the lad. It has been well documented that it was Barton’s Twitter rants that ultimately led to his departure from St James’ Park.
Barton criticised Newcastle’s transfer policy, the fans do it but the players as employees should not, and he then he went on to claim that he would only leave for a top club. How does QPR sound? It’s hardly Arsenal, is it? Similar to his pal Kevin Nolan, Barton has ended up at a smaller club with chances of future success even less than our own. With Nolan I always thought that we were as a big a club as he had the ability to play for and in Barton’s case it was his character/mouth that was the limiting feature.
Barton will be missed on the field, of that I am sure. His aggression and leadership in midfield will not be replaced by any player currently in our ranks. However, with the central pairing of Tiote and Cabaye seeming the preferred option Barton would have been stuck out wide. I thought Barton did a terrific job there last season but at least now we can put an out and out winger there, probably Obertan. If there was one department on the pitch where we could afford to lose a top player it was the midfield and Barton’s departure will hopefully enable the likes of Vuckic and Abeid to get a few more chances.
Undoubtedly the most baffling feature of his departure is the free transfer that he was afforded. I understand the Ashley, as the boss, will not take any nonsense from employees who question his vision for his club. However, the fact that Ashley was so desperate to rid the club of the troublemaker that he was prepared to give away a key player to a team who will be rivalling us in the Premiership for no fee seems ridiculous. If he had indeed gone to Arsenal at least they would not be a club who we could expect to challenge with regard to our league position. It also seems apparent that the powers that be are very stringent with regards to the fees paid out for incoming players, why then is there such a disregard of financial prudence in relation to departures? Barton was a saleable asset and it seems absurd that we have forgone a £2/3 million transfer fee to simply make the point that Ashley will do as he likes. This point has already been made several times before.
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