Derby County are the favourites to sign former Rangers midfielder Joey Barton this summer. According to the latest odds released by the United Kingdom bookmakers, the Rams are leading the chase to make a swoop for the English midfielder in what could be a risky move for the East Midlands outfit. Bet Victor has priced Gary Rowett’s side at 8/1 to sign the ex-Premier League player this summer.
Aston Villa, Cardiff City, Queens Park Rangers, Fleetwood Town and Notts County are all priced at 10/1 to seal a move for Barton when the transfer window opens in the summer. Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic are also in the running and are priced at 20/1.
The 35-year-old midfield veteran is currently serving his 13-month ban from football after his recent betting antics. He was released by Rangers just two months into his contract mainly because of a training ground bust-up. Barton has built a reputation of making the headlines for the wrong reasons which will be a cause for concern for any of his potential suitors. The Huyton-born player has a wealth of experience in English football during his time with Manchester City, Newcastle United, Queens Park Rangers and Burnley respectively which makes a perfect fit for the Rams.
Derby County are currently sitting in the 5th position in the Skybet Championship league table with a tally of 68 points in 40 league matches. Gary Rowett’s team are in pole position to secure a playoff spot at the end of the season with two points separating them from the 7th placed Middlesbrough going into the business end of the season.
The addition of Barton will undoubtedly bolster Rowett’s midfield options in the new season. However, the risk of signing the Englishman is not worth the reward. It is highly likely that his conduct off the pitch could disrupt the Rams’ performances on the pitch which is why they should try to avoid going for the player. The East Midlands outfit has the likes of Marcus Olsson, Bradley Johnson, George Thorne, Tom Huddlestone and Joe Ledley vying for a place in Rowett’s senior team this season.
Hence, the arrival of a new midfield option will add more competition for places in their squad as they look to improve on their league performance next term. However, they should avoid making a move for Barton and instead, look for other viable options during the summer transfer period. At 35, Barton is almost at the twilight of his career and would not be guaranteed a starting place in Rowett’s starting eleven. It remains to be seen what lies ahead in the future of Barton and whether the bookies are right in making Derby County, the favourites to secure his services in the near future.