Despite being involved in Newcastle’s opening day draw with Arsenal, Joey Barton could still find himself leaving St. James Park as West Ham look set to re-ignite their interest in the controversial midfielder.
The Championship side first looked at Barton earlier this month when Newcastle made it clear they would allow him to leave on a free transfer, and with the former Manchester City man yet to put pen to paper on a new contract, the East Londoners are carefully monitoring the situation.
Barton is thought to be waiting to see if any of the top four Premier League sides come in for him and if not, the option of being reunited with Newcastle teammate Kevin Nolan and the man who took him to Newcastle, Sam Allardyce, may prove an attractive option.
Following their impressive 4-0 victory away at Watford on Tuesday and their 1-0 win at Doncaster, West Ham have been made favourites for the Championship title at 11/4 and Allardyce knows their chances will be greatly enhanced if Barton were to put pen to paper with the Hammers.
The biggest difficulties, however, will be convincing the 28-year-old to drop down a division to the Championship and to take a cut in wages, currently said to be in the region of £80,000 a week.
Any move by the Hammers for Barton could also hinge on whether or not Scott Parker remains a West Ham player.
A host of Premier League clubs including Stoke City, Aston Villa, Tottenham, Chelsea and Arsenal have been linked with last season’s Football Writers’ Player of the Year, but no club has yet matched West Ham’s £8million valuation of the player.
Parker has three years remaining on his current deal, but would favour a move back to the Premier League.