With his Rangers career seemingly at a controversial end, midfielder Joey Barton is being lined up for a move back to England.
The 34-year-old was suspended by the Scottish giants for two months following a fall-out with manager Mark Warburton, and according to the Daily Mirror he was banned from the senior players’ car park and the canteen.
As part of an agreement between the two parties, Barton was expected to train with the youth players until January when he would move south of the border, but he phoned in sick last Friday and has now been signed off with stress while a severance package is agreed.
Burnley, whom the midfielder helped achieve promotion to the Premier League last term, are said to be interested, as well as Championship new-boys Aston Villa.
The latter are looking to return to the top-flight at the first time of asking following relegation last season, and manager Steve Bruce is an admirer of the Liverpool-born player.
Here are THREE reasons why Aston Villa should get Barton…
While he may be a controversial character, the midfielder brings a wealth of experience with him from his career and was one of Burnley’s key players as they secured promotion to the Premier League last season.
Steve Bruce may feel that the midfielder could have a similar impact at Villa Park this time around, and would provide leadership to a side that lacked influential figures as they suffered a dismal relegation last term.
The 34-year-old is a winner, and it is that mentality that this current Villa side perhaps needs as they look to gain promotion this season.
Barton was named in the PFA Championship Team of the Year for the 2015/16 campaign, and it shows how influential he can be when he puts his mind to it – something that Bruce would need to bring out if the midfielder is to make the move to Villa Park.
Once a settlement is agreed with Rangers, Barton will be a free agent, and that is something that is likely to appeal Steve Bruce and Villa.
The club spent around £50m on new players in the summer and only recently has their form picked up following a disappointing start to the campaign.
The fact that someone as experienced as the 34-year-old would be available on a free might be an opportunity deemed too good to turn down.