Friday 20 October 2017

Wenger rubbishes Barton claims

Burnley's Joey Barton. Photo:: Peter Byrne/PA Wire
Burnley's Joey Barton. Photo:: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

Darren Witcoop

Joey Barton is not your archetypal Arsenal player so it's no real surprise that Arsene Wenger was among those to raise eyebrows at the midfielder's claims this week.

Barton revealed he came close to joining Arsenal with talks planned with Wenger over a free transfer move in 2011.

The veteran midfielder says his dream move to the Emirates was ended by a red card picked up just months earlier in Newcastle's 4-4 draw against Arsenal.

Barton, who now plays for Burnley, ended up heading to west London to join QPR on a free rather than pitch up in north London with Arsenal.

And Wenger says the move never came close to getting off the ground.

"I've been contacted many times to take Joey Barton," said Wenger. "But he was never close to signing. We had some fights with him, that's true. There was never any need (to take him) in midfield."

Barton (34) lines up against Arsenal tomorrow having relaunched his Premier League career with the Clarets following an ill-fated spell with Glasgow Rangers.

He has already made an impact after scoring on his Turf Moor return against Southampton, just three minutes after jumping off the substitutes' bench, to help Burnley maintain their impressive record on home soil.

It's been a rather different story on the road - the Clarets have picked up just one point - and Wenger is hoping their away-day woes continue.

"What they have done is absolutely unbelievable so we have to make sure they don't find a solution away from home," said Wenger, who earned a fortunate and controversial 1-0 win in October. Arsenal trail leaders Chelsea by six points but Wenger refuses to throw in the towel on his side's Premier League title hopes.

"For us every game is a cup final," he added. I see it that way as Chelsea is ahead and everyone else is fighting.

"So it's important first of all to try and build a gap with the teams around you and try and get closer to Chelsea. You never know." (© Independent News Service)

Arsenal v Burnley, Live, tomorrow, Sky Sports 1, 2.15

Irish Independent

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