Joey Barton may be rocking a denim jacket and wayfarers on this fine sunny day (see Twitter), but it could be a Queens Park Rangers shirt he favours this weekend.
Newcastle United have granted permission to QPR to talk to their midfielder who is available on a free transfer, and the midfielder would certainly add some bite to a midfielder that is favoured to spend the season fighting relegation.
The 28-year-old has had a well documented fight with the Newcastle hierarchy this summer and while Barton has made his peace with manager Alan Pardew, he knows his Newcastle career is coming to an end.
QPR manager Neil Warnock knows Barton would add invaluable experience to his midfield but whether Barton wants to spend his season battling relegation remains to be seen.
Should QPR – 6/4 fifth favourites to be relegated – stay up, the prospects look good for the London club with new owner Tony Fernandes ready to back his manager with funds in the transfer market and that may have a bearing on Barton’s decision.
The Newcastle board have been reluctant to reinvest any transfer fees they have received over that past 18 months and that is something that has irked Barton, and it’s clear the midfielder isn’t happy at Newcastle.
Barton’s only options at the moment seem to be QPR and West Ham United and if you believe he’s willing to take a chance on the Hammers winning promotion this season, you have to believe he’s willing to take a chance on QPR staying up.
Newcastle are a 5/1 chance to be relegated this season and are a few people’s dark horses to slip down to the Championship.
Considering the teams around them in the betting, it’s likely that Newcastle should find a few worse than them this season but the loss of Barton could play a big role in their Premier League campaign.