The English football season is almost officially finished, and it’s that time of year where clubs start to chop and change their playing-staff – the first to get the boot are the ones out of contract, where will they all end up next?
Despite having a squad that looks great on paper, another season of woe in the Premier League has ensued for Queens Park Rangers as they whimpered down in the Championship for the second time in three years.
With Financial Fair Play sanctions looming and a change of direction needed, the club have opted to show the door to a number of first-team players and perhaps the most surprising name of the free-agent list was Joey Barton.
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Barton, along with the likes of Shaun Wright-Phillips, Bobby Zamora, Richard Dunne and former Leeds star Rio Ferdinand, is now free to look for a new club following the London club’s relegation and he still has a lot to offer on the pitch in the Championship or top flight.
Talk will start in the next few days as to the 32-year-old’s next club, and one team who should try their hardest to be in that mix is The Whites.
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After appointing yet another new manager in Uwe Rosler, the Elland Road outfit can no-longer be content with lower mid-table finishes; the push for the Premier League has to begin now, but they need some players worthy of it.
Look at the impact Barton had on an ailing QPR when they went up in the paly-off final in the previous season. The tough midfielder didn’t want to be at Loftus Road after a successful loan at French giants Marseilles, but he knuckled down, got stuck in and did the business. Leeds need a bit of that.
The question of temperament will always hang-over the hothead who has had his fair share of scrapes and punishments in the past but, to be fair, it is difficult to think of too many in the last season for the former Manchester City and Newcastle player.
His influence and experience in the middle alongside talented youngsters like Alex Mowatt and Lewis Cook would provide Rosler’s side with great balance and cutting edge.
Of course it wouldn’t be easy to land the player, personally or financially, but he strikes you as the sort of player that owner Massimo Cellino would like to have in his ranks – they both have the ability to divide opinion and would probably get-on like a house on fire.
You can almost guarantee that Premier League club with bigger budgets will be in for Barton, but I’m sure he could be sold on the idea. Leeds obviously have an amazing heritage and fanbase and, with time ticking in his career, this could be the perfect last big and motivating challenge for him – surely it’s better this way than an uninspiring yet more financially rewarding job in the mid-table of the top tier.
Cellino and Rosler; show the Leeds fans how persuasive you can be.