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Joey's Arsenal talks

JOEY BARTON claims he held talks with the Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger before signing for Queen's Park Rangers.

The new QPR captain believes his hopes of becoming an Arsenal player were ruined by his involvement in Gervinho's sending-off on the opening day of the season.

Playing in what proved to be his final home match for Newcastle last month, Barton grappled with Gervinho after he thought the new Arsenal striker had dived in the box. Barton then fell to the ground clutching his face after the merest of touches from Gervinho, who was sent off.

Midfielder Barton said: "If I hadn't played against Arsenal on the first day, I may have signed for them.

"There were a couple of conversations (with Wenger) but that's different to actually signing.

"The Gervinho incident happened and there's nothing I can do about it now. If it happened again, I'd like to think I'd deal with it differently. Things happen for a reason and there's a lesson to be learned from it. Right now, we sit above Arsenal in the table -- hopefully that's the case in May."

Barton was made available on a free transfer by Newcastle this summer after the player criticised on Twitter the way the club was being run.

He added: "There were a couple of offers on the table but now I'm really happy to be at QPR and in London."