JOEY BARTON was the subject of firm interest from Wigan Athletic last night.
And in a week which has been dominated by talk of Joey-gate, the saga went from the sublime to the ridiculous as League One minnows Rochdale also spoke of a cheeky bid for the one time England international’s services.
But sources on Merseyside have indicated that Everton – the only club not to sign a player on a permanent deal this summer – cannot match Barton’s wages at United.
However, the serious interest came from Wigan supremo Dave Whelan, who has admitted he was prepared to sanction a move for the out of favour midfielder – if his manager Roberto Martinez wanted to take him.
Barton has been training with Newcastle United’s development squad but will not be involved in today’s final friendly of pre-season against Fiorentina.
The Scouser was also not handed the chance to play in the reserves’ friendly at Ashington last night, won 2-1 thanks to goals from Brad Inman and Phil Airey, and remains on the transfer list and available for a free transfer leaving his future in the air.
Barton’s agent Willie McKay has a good relationships with North West clubs, including
Wigan, and Whelan said last night: “I would say ‘Roberto, I’m backing you’. He’s the boss and I let him be the boss. If Roberto would like to sign Barton, I’d try to get him.”