Joey Barton’s free-transfer move to West Ham is off after the club bowed to widespread fans pressure over the player’s chequered past.
Barton had been expected to undergo a medical at the Boleyn Ground ahead of the switch, but will now be seeking alternative employment, with Watford and Celtic heading the betting to be his next club at 6/4 and 5/2 respectively.
It’s easy to see why Irons fans might have been concerned over the midfielder’s arrival.
The former Manchester City, Newcastle, QPR and Marseille hell-raiser ranks fifth on the all-time list for cumulative fines incurred by Premier League players.
Barton has accumulated £102,000 in financial penalties over the course of his career, putting renowned controversy courters like Eric Cantona, Lee Bowyer and, err, Andy Impey, firmly in the shade.
A lack of racism, missed/failed drugs tests or biting on his rap sheet stop him from climbing any-higher in the pantheon, for all he remains operational in the increasingly media-sensitive climate surrounding football.
Having supposedly spurned Barton due to a distaste for the way he has conducted himself in the past, it will interesting to follow the Irons support’s reaction to Diafra Sakho’s arrest for domestic assault on August 6th.
Looking elsewhere for his next club, the 32-year-old could arguably do worse than approach Manchester United, if our graphic is anything to go by.
Three players to represent the Red Devils at senior level made our top ten, a number only West Ham themselves (courtesy of Messrs Impey, Bowyer and Ferdinand) can emulate.