Everton could be set to take an eye-brow raising punt on controversial midfielder Joey Barton ahead of the new campaign and the midfielder is showing great desire to make the move happen.
With the Toffees midfield in flux thanks to the retirement of Phil Neville and potential sale of Marouane Fellaini such a move might not be a bad idea.
Toffees fans could be forgiven for being lukewarm on the signing of the powder-keg 30-year-old, but taking a risk on him could allow them to bring a quality player for no fee thanks to parent-club QPR’s keenness to rid themselves of responsibility for his princely salary.
Twitter beefs were as risqué as Barton got during his season on loan at Ligue 1 silver medallists Marseille last term and in between the jibes and some poor luck with injuries the Liverpool-native enhanced his stock with some fine performances.
A forecast return to L’OM has run aground over the QPR man’s attempts to the west London outfit to pay off the remainder of his contract.
Now his agent has approached Everton – who Barton supported as a nipper – to gauge their interest as the midfielder attempts to engineer a move away from Loftus Road.
Whereas wages have long been an issue in a potential move to Stade Velodrome, Barton appears to have a much more humble attitude towards the Toffees – 16/1 to leapfrog Spurs and Arsenal into the top four this term – with the Mirror suggesting he would be willing to see his £70,000-a-week wages halved to sign up with Roberto Martinez.
The player has even offered to join Everton for training to prove he is physically ready to make a contribution ahead of the new campaign, in which the Goodison club are a juicy 3/1 to finish above Liverpool for the third successive year.
A highly capable player on his day, it could be well worth Martinez taking a gamble on Barton with the prospect of representing his boyhood idols offering major hope he can finally begin to consistently channel his boisterousness in the right direction.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.