Barton demands 'loyalty bonus' before City move
JOEY BARTON'S proposed transfer to Newcastle has been delayed by his demands for a £300,000 "loyalty payment" from Manchester City.
The England international agreed in principle to join Newcastle in a five-year deal worth £60,000-a-week on Tuesday, having also requested permission to speak to West Ham United when both clubs triggered the £5.5m release clause in his City contract. However, his St James' Park contract remains unsigned because of a dispute over his departure from City and his current employers are adamant the midfielder will not be sold until he backs down.
Barton, who has been suspended on full pay for the past six weeks following a training ground incident that left team-mate Ousmane Dabo requiring hospital treatment, insists he is entitled to the payment from City as he never handed in a transfer request. For their part, the club contest he lost his entitlement to any loyalty money when he requested permission to speak to Newcastle and West Ham once his release clause was activated.
There is also a ground-swell of opinion within City that Barton has received ample support from the club throughout his chequered career - they paid for the 24-year-old to receive anger-management lessons from the Sporting Chance Clinic last year, for example - and that a £300,000 payment on their part would, according to a source, "go beyond the pale when he has exercised his right to speak to other clubs and is on the cusp of a contract said to be worth £16m".
Sam Allardyce had hoped to make Barton, who is currently on police bail over his alleged training ground fight with Dabo, his first signing as Newcastle manager but remains confident the impasse can be broken over the weekend and that the midfielder will follow Mark Viduka into St James' Park.
The Australian yesterday completed his move to the Magpies and spoke with relish about the prospect of teaming up with Michael Owen and Obafemi Martins.
"I have played at St James' Park quite a few times now for Leeds United and Middlesbrough and I have always felt it was a great place to play," said Viduka.
"Now it is going to be different having all the those supporters cheering me on, and I keep imagining what this is going to be like.
"To tell the truth, I cannot wait for it all to happen come August. Everyone knows that the strike force Newcastle United already have is top class, and I am looking forward to playing with them.
"Hopefully I can bring another dimension to how the team plays, as well as chipping in with some goals," added Viduka, who headed off from London, where he underwent his medical yesterday, on a family holiday to Croatia before joining up with Australia for their Asian Cup campaign.
Thaksin Shinawatra's proposed £90m takeover of City, meanwhile, is edging closer towards a successful resolution with the former Thai prime minister reportedly on the brink of tabling an official offer to chairman John Wardle.
Barton insists he is entitled to the payment from City as he never handed in a transfer requestA senior source close to Thaksin moved to reassure supporters over the current delays last night, said: "The deal is absolutely on course and could go through at any time. Next week is looking the strongest possibility. Fans should not be dismayed that it's taking a long time. It was in the public domain long before it should have been and these deals take time. As it is, from start to finish it will be quicker than most takeovers."
The same source also revealed that no firm offers have been made to a potential replacement for Stuart Pearce as manager since the first-choice candidate, Claudio Ranieri, elected to join Juventus this week, with the Thais anxious to avoid an awkward repeat.
"(There will be) no serious talk on that until the paperwork for the takeover is signed and sealed," the source said yesterday. (© Independent News Service)