Neil Warnock has insisted that Joey Barton could easily be playing for a top four club this season, after the west London club snared the midfielder on the last weekend of the transfer window.
Barton had been released by Newcastle to find a new club at the beginning of the summer, but the 29-year-old had hoped to stay with the club at least until his contract ran out in January next year.
But QPR offered Barton a four-year deal, and the midfielder decided to make the move to the capital. Warnock can’t believe his luck at landing one of what he believes is a top player in the Barclays Premier League.
“If you’re realistic there’s no way a club like QPR could sign Joey Barton if he didn’t have something like that behind him because for me he’s Arsenal or Tottenham, he’s a top four player. So to get him for us I think it’s a fantastic bit of business,” Warnock said of the coup.
“People talked about his baggage and really I’m not saying I’m an innocent person, if you look back at my career there are things I’ve said and done I regret and I’m sure Joey’s the same.
“I do hope he changes slightly but not a lot, I want the fire that he has in his belly.”
Barton will meet Newcastle in his first match for the Hoops on Monday night, and the player will no doubt be bringing some fire into the encounter with his old side.
Barton stoked the fire by launching an online attack on the Toon this week, insisting that a player exodus will take place next summer.
"Cheik Tiote and Tim Krul will be sold as soon as there's a significant bid or they ask for a new deal,” Barton said on his twitter account, where he has taken to expressing a lot of opinions lately.
"Jonas Gutierrez and Fabricio Coloccini will also be off by this time next year," he wrote.
"I feel sorry for the Geordie nation. Ashley and Llambias don't deserve that club or its following. I'm sure they think people are stupid.
"Nice to see Ashley and Llambias come through with their promise to reinvest Andy Carroll money.
"That's a £59m net profit from transfers in the last five seasons. Ambition?"