Newcastle United’s decision to allow Joey Barton to leave the club on a free transfer has alerted a host of top Premier League clubs.
Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham are said to be among the sides lining up talks with the fiery midfielder.
Sports betting pundits note how Barton still has a year remaining on his £60,000 per week contract, although the Newcastle board are looking for ways to reduce their hefty wage bill.
Barton’s agent, Willie McKay branded the club’s decision to transfer list Barton as ‘suicidal’.
McKay said: “I was totally surprised when they never offered him a contract. I think it’s a wee bit suicidal by Newcastle because how would you let your player of the year leave on a free transfer, approaching his prime?
“He had a great season and, for me, was pivotal for the club getting £35million for Andy Carroll because he passed every ball to Carroll for every goal.”
The former Manchester City star has reportedly angered the Magpies’ board with his outspoken comments on the social networking site Twitter.
Barton often accused the Newcastle board of being out of line, suggesting they are the money-grabbing.
In one tweet he said he would not give the owners ‘the satisfaction’ of acquiring a transfer fee for him.
Yesterday he announced to his 185,000 followers that there would be an announcement on his future at 4pm.
However, Newcastle beat him to it with a short statement released on the club’s official website.
They said: “Newcastle United can confirm that Joey Barton has been placed on the transfer list today (Monday).
“The player has been advised that he can leave the club on a free transfer.”
Following that, Barton updated his Twitter site, confirming what the club had already announced, and used it as a chance to have another dig at the board.
He said: “Somewhere in those high echelons of NUFC, they have decided, I am persona non grata.”
Despite that, Barton indicated that he may well choose to sit out the remaining year of his contract.
He added: “I am on a free but the honour of wearing those B+W (black and white) stripes surpasses that.
“One day the board might realise what the shirt signifies. Honour and pride… thanks for your continued support.”
Some reports amongst those placing sports bets are suggesting that Tottenham are the favourites to obtain the signature of Barton, having failed to lure Scott Parker from West Ham.