Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has all but ruled out a move for Newcastle United midfielder Joey Barton.
Barton was the centre of attention for all the wrong reasons during Saturday's 0-0 draw between the two sides after confronting Arsenal new boy Gervinho before the Gunners debutant was sent off for slapping the Newcastle midfielder.
The 28-year-old has been made available for a free transfer this summer following his outburst towards the Newcastle hierarchy in regards to their transfer policy.
The Gunners have been linked with a move for the former Manchester City trainee but Wenger has all but ruled out a move for the controversial midfielder.
“Nobody dismisses signing Joey Barton but I don't think we envisage doing that at the moment,” Wenger said in The Guardian.
“I like the courage of the player. He's a good player. Sometimes there's trouble with his temper but he's a great player.”
“Maybe the way to sort Barton out is to sign him. Maybe that's the solution,” the Frenchman jokingly added.
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew believes Barton will remain at St James’ Park beyond the summer despite speculation linking him with a move away from the club.
“As far as I'm concerned, with Joey and me, that's the end of things,” Pardew said, as reported by The Sun.
“He showed me what I wanted to see here [against Arsenal]. He has only one year left on his contract and I've learned the lessons from Andy Carroll, so I won't be saying he'll definitely be staying. But I think he will.
“On Thursday, I asked him for assurances about what he was going to do and how he was going to play for us and he answered them. He sent out the right message and that's important.
“There has been a lot said and written about him and I'm sure a lot of it he didn't like.
“But I told him the most important thing was to go and do what he does best and that's play football. That's what he did.
“A fully focused Joey Barton is a massive asset for me.”
By Ben McAleercomments