Arsenal early frontrunners as Barton nears shock Newcastle exit

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Joey Barton and Newcastle United are set to part company following the news the club have put their midfielder up for sale on a free transfer.

Barton had expressed his distaste at the way the club was being run following a pre-season defeat to Leeds United on Sunday and it seems the Newcastle board have had it with the midfielder’s constant digs at the board.

Never one to shy away from an opinion, Barton was destined for the Newcastle exit earlier in the summer when the club confirmed they would not be renewing his contract but it was expected Barton would play out his final season.

Instead there will be a host of clubs chasing the midfielder’s signature, especially as it’s a free one, and Barton should be at a new club by the start of the new football season.

Newcastle failed to win a single game that Barton didn’t feature in during the 2010/11 Premier League season and that doesn’t bode well for the forthcoming season.

At 5/1 to be relegated Newcastle are a huge price and this isn’t just an overreaction to the Barton saga as earlier this morning we flagged Newcastle for relegation.

A host of names will be linked with Barton and Arsenal, who were linked with Barton earlier this summer, will be one of those mentioned by plenty.

Whether Wenger needs both Barton and Jack Wilshere is debatable but there is no doubt Barton would add bite to the Arsenal midfield.

However it could be Arsenal’s north London neighbours who snap up Barton and if Chelsea are successful in their revised bid for Luka Modric, Barton could well be on his way to Tottenham Hotspur.

Harry Redknapp does not want to lose Luka Modric but it seems that if Spurs’ valuation is met the Croat will be on his way out of White Hart Lane.

Barton may not be as creative as Modric but with Spurs under pressure to keep their finances tight, a free transfer would be right up Redknapp’s street.

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Robbie Morris

Robbie studied sports journalism at the University of Gloucestershire, an establishment chosen for its proximity to Cheltenham racecourse, where he was a season ticket holder. Upon graduation, Robbie was a contributor to GolfPunk, a national magazine aimed at ridding golf of its traditionalist image, before joining the news.ladbrokes team.