Joey Barton Would Be A Statement Signing For Rangers


So after a along hard season it looks like Joey Barton is taking a few days off to relax with his family in a sunny destination.

But it seems as though the veteran midfielder has a tough decision to make. He has at least two offers on the table regarding what he does next; either stay at Burnley for an extra year and play in the Premier League again or sign a longer deal to play for Scottish Premiership new boys Rangers.

While he debates who he should join next, I can totally understand why the Glasgow giants would want him at their club.

Obviously the player has had various troubles both on and off the field but it’s fair to say that he’s now maturing as a footballer and does posses leadership qualities that could enhance the Gers first team.

Burnley boss Sean Dyche has been extremely complimentary about Barton, who was a key player in his sides Championship winning season:

 “Joey’s an intelligent lad. He thinks about his football deeply and his profession.” 

It’s exactly that deep thinking that might give Rangers the edge as they try and persuade Barton to join them.

I met Joey in France during his stint at Olympique Marseille. During that conversation with French Football Weekly’s Andrew Gibney, Barton would talk in detail about football, how staying fit was always on his mind, that he believed that he could play into his late thirties and had the intelligence to move back and play as a central defender.

During that meeting I told Joey that coming into it I didn’t like him but my opinion of him changed after meeting him. He stated that I wasn’t the first to say that to him.

I’m pretty sure a few Gers fans will have misgivings about signing him, especially given his volatile reputation and his age.

But as I said, he isn’t as mad as you think. He still has his prickly side and managed to clock up ten yellow cards last term, but he didn’t see a red card. In his position as a tough tackling midfielder who protects his defence, he’ll obviously make challenges and get booked occasionally. His reputation probably means that refs are also less likely to be lenient on him. Plus I’m sure he still snipes back at officials and opposition players when things don’t go his way, that’s just in his nature. But that will endear him with the Ibrox support as it shows he cares and wants to win.

Obviously everyone is talking about the thought of his first 50/50 challenge with Celtic captain Scott Brown. Both will try and wind each other up if they come face to face but it’s up to the two to keep their heads and not let the other win the mind or midfield battle. It will certainly spice up the Old Firm fixture if Barton signs on.

When it comes to age, I don’t think that’s really an issue either in terms of being a bad thing.

Last season he played forty times for Burnley in a hugely competitive season, thirty-seven of those were starts! So that shows you that he does indeed take his fitness extremely seriously.

Barton doesn’t just play though, he is also very effective. He averaged just under three successful tackles a game in the Championship and averaged just over two interceptions per match. He also had a decent 75% passing success rate.

At Rangers, he’ll be seen as the midfielder that can lead those around him. The Gers in general have a young squad and last term you could see in certain games that they need an experienced campaigner who can lead by example and calm things down.

But looking at the transfer beyond just the playing merits and it would represent a significant coup for the club as they return to Scotland’s top flight.

They would be bringing in a man with a huge social media following and more importantly he would be turning down the chance to play in the lucrative Premier League to play for the club. It would show the footballing world that Rangers mean business and want to try and challenge Celtic next season.

It reminds me of the club signing other controversial figures like Paul Gascoigne and El Hadji Diouf. Players who made contributions for Rangers Football Club and made headlines beyond borders.

Rangers will be hoping that Joey Barton will join the light blues and lead another side to yet another title and keep maling big statements!


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