Newcastle United's Joey Barton to Manchester United is one of the more leftfield transfer rumours doing the rounds. According to some fans forums there’re plenty of reasons the hardcore United boo boys don’t want Barton at the club. His scouse background, his connections to Manchester City and shocking human rights record to name but a few. But if you judge him solely on his value to the squad as a footballer he’s a better fit than you’d think.
Barton has all the attributes to play in a modern Manchester United midfield. He’s fit, flexible and tactically trustworthy. The sort of high-energy combative midfielder Sir Alex likes to play in big European ties and away games, plus he’s able to play anywhere across the midfield in any formation United care to use, as a three, four or five.
He wouldn’t play every game and may not even start when Man U are at full strength but he’d get plenty of opportunities to make a contribution. Especially if the Red Devils get close to the 60 games mark they reached last season. And in terms of quality surely Man U fans would prefer to see Joey in the team ahead of Anderson or Gibson? Granted Barton wouldn’t be high profile enough for some of the Champions League elite who look to fill their midfields with marquee names, but this lack of profile makes him perfect for United.
He’s got bundles of energy like Fletcher, an eye for a pass like Carrick, dead ball delivery like Ryan Giggs and crosses a ball as well as Ashley Young.
You could argue none of the members of Man Utd’s engine room would waltz into the starting line up of many of Europe’s top clubs. Yet there they were picking up Premier League winners medals and Champions League runners up gongs at the end of another successful season. The current United midfield isn’t made up of single position specialists but a pool of flexible interchangeable players - and Nuno Valencia on the right when fit. Barton’s skill set makes him ideal to join that pool. He’d work well as a replacement or partner for any of United’s senior midfielders. He’s got bundles of energy like Fletcher, an eye for a pass like Carrick, dead ball delivery like Ryan Giggs and crosses a ball as well as Ashley Young. Plus he has something that those players don’t, bite. United have lacked a combative enforcer since Keane spat his dummy. Given some responsibility and a role in the squad you get the feeling there’s more to come from Joey.
Barton before the controversy was a bright young talent on the fringes of the national team. But once he started getting caught kicking players, fans and passers by his career obviously stalled. Last season Joey showed signs of getting back to his best but under the tutelage of Sir Alex Ferguson in the safe haven of Old Trafford there’s no telling what could be next for both player and club. SAF has a reputation for getting the best out of troubled souls and is probably the manager best suited to getting the best out of a rapidly maturing player. And now would be the time, at 28 Barton is at the peak of his powers both mentally and physically.
So why would SAF want a player with that much baggage at the club? Well, having a bit of the devil in you has never bothered Ferguson before. As long as Barton does what he’s told he and the gaffer will get on fine. Also the fact he’s not a big time Charlie with a boot contract on big time wages should ensure a bit of squad harmony. Perhaps most importantly Barton comes across as a player with something to prove. At the moment it’s proving to the Newcastle faithful they were right to take a chance on him at a low point in his career, but with the right offer he could prove to everyone he’s developed into the player six or seven years ago looked like he had what it takes to do it at a really big club.
Click here for more stories about Manchester United
Click here for more Newcastle United stories
Click here for more Football and Sport stories
Click here to follow Sabotage Times on Twitter
Click here to follow Sabotage Times on Facebook