Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has enquired to Newcastle United about signing their controversial midfielder Joey Barton, according to former Toon striker Micky Quinn.
The Englishman had a productive season at St James Park last season, helping Alan Pardew’s men to a more than respectable 12th in the Premier League.
Barton has been a character that splits opinion over the last few years though and not many would have expected Wenger to make a move for him.
However, it seems that the Arsenal boss is toying with the idea of signing Barton to add some extra bite to his midfield as the Gunners look to end their trophy drought in the next campaign.
Speaking to Talksport, Quinn revealed: “I know through a third party that Arsenal have enquired about Joey Barton. He’ll put a bit of steel into that Arsenal team.”
Barton’s talent on the football field has never been in doubt; he is one of the most influential midfielders in the Premier League on his day and could be just what Wenger needs as part of his young squad.
The 28-year-old has been linked heavily with a move away from Newcastle too, making it clear that he was angry with the sale of team-mate Kevin Nolan to West Ham United.
Now Arsenal appear to be interested, Barton will surely do all he can to make a move happen.
Of course it remains to be seen how far Wenger is willing to go with his interest, but this is certainly one of the most interesting transfer stories of the summer so far.
Former Arsenal player Ray Parlour thinks the club should focus their attentions on another England midfielder though.
He is encouraging Wenger to make a move for West Ham’s Scott Parker, saying that the England international would “fit in perfectly” at the Emirates.
Should Parker or Barton become a serious target of Wenger’s over the next few weeks, it would certainly be a change in tactic for the Frenchman.
Signing English players above the age of 25 isn’t exactly his normal transfer method, but perhaps with six seasons without silverware he is willing to try something different.