Joey Barton’s short and unfulfilled Rangers career looks to be finally at an end, with the player close to agreeing a severance deal amid reports he has been signed off with stress.
Barton, 34, briefly returned to training last Thursday after being suspended in September, but he has not been spotted since. He is understood to have a doctor’s note excusing him from duties.
Barton was initially sent home days after a training-ground row with team-mate Andy Halliday and manager Mark Warburton in the wake of Rangers’ 5-1 defeat by Celtic on 10 September.
The club confirmed his suspension the following week, which was later extended.
Rangers announced the end of a disciplinary procedure last Wednesday and Barton was told he would be returning to full-time training last week but he had to join the under-20 squad and was kept away from the first team.
Now a deal appears to have been struck between both parties which will result in Barton leaving Ibrox after just
eight competitive first-team appearances.
Signed amid a blaze of publicity in the summer, Barton agreed a £20,000-per-week two-year contract after a successful season with Burnley whom he helped win the Championship and promotion to the Premier League.
But Barton struggled to get a foothold in the Scottish game. He started just five league matches for Rangers and failed to show the form to accompany the summer boasts that he would be the stand-out performer in the Premiership.
Rangers are expected to pay up Barton’s contract until January, allowing him to train with a new club before signing when the transfer window opens.
Burnley manager Sean Dyche has refused to rule out a return to Turf Moor for the Liverpudlian, who turned down a new Clarets deal in the summer. Aston Villa have also been credited with an interest in the player.
Barton’s connection with Scottish football is not entirely at an end.
The former England international still faces an SFA
hearing on 17 November after being charged with breaching betting rules.