Rangers held signing talks with Joey Barton yesterday. The controversial midfielder visited Ibrox and the club’s training ground and is believed to be close to agreeing a three-year contract.
Barton was a key player in Burnley’s Sky Bet Championship triumph but was only offered a one-year extension at Turf Moor and wants a longer deal.
The 33-year-old made 40 appearances for the Clarets last season after joining from QPR on a free transfer.
Quoted in the Burnley Express earlier this month, he revealed his hopes for the summer. “There’s a desire for me to be here [at Burnley], that hasn’t changed, but at 33, stroke 34, I don’t know whether I want to stay for a year, that’s the reality of it,” he said.
“We’ll sit down and negotiate, I’d like to stay here longer. At this stage of my career it’s not financial, there’s no financial angle for me, I just want a bit of stability. My eldest child is about to start school so I want to put some roots down somewhere.”
The former Manchester City and Newcastle United midfielder is no stranger to controversy and has previously expressed an affinity with Celtic, but he has links with the other side of Glasgow.
Rangers’ head of recruitment Frank McParland, also a Liverpudlian, performed the same role at Burnley when Barton signed.
The Ladbrokes Championship winners signed another Merseyside-born midfielder on Friday night when they completed the acquisition of 19-year-old midfielder Jordan Rossiter from Liverpool on a four-year deal.
Manager Mark Warburton is keen on a youthful squad but he has consistently spoken of the need for some experienced players to help the younger ones along. Former Watford midfielder John Eustace spent several months training with Rangers this season but did not sign.
Rangers started the campaign playing attacking midfielder Andy Halliday in a holding position and finished the season largely playing on-loan Tottenham central defender Dominic Ball in the anchor role.
Barton would provide the experienced midfield head Warburton is looking for when his side go head to head with Celtic in the Premiership next season.