Joey Barton´s short-term future remains in doubt after Manchester City rejected a verbal offer from Middlesbrough for the wantaway midfielder.

Barton handed in a transfer request late last night after rejecting City´s double-your-money offer of £28,000-a-week. Although the demand was instantly rejected by Pearce, coming just 24 hours before the deadline closes, it did raise the suspicion Barton had another move lined up.

And while there is no suggestion Boro had made contact with the 23-year-old prior to Monday´s stunning developments, PA Sport understands the Teessiders have this afternoon made a move to secure Barton´s services, after initially inquiring about the player a fortnight ago.

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