Joey Barton almost signed for Arsenal back in 2011, but Arsene Wenger pulled the plug following an incident on the pitch.
The England international who has been in the news for his disciplinary issues over the years had interested Arsene when he starred for Newcastle United.
Wenger’s then assistant Pat Rice contacted Barton’s mentor and friend Peter Kay to alert the player of Arsenal’s interest in him.
The process had reached the stage of Barton meeting Wenger, but his involvement in sending Gervinho off in the Gunners’ clash against Newcastle saw the appointment swiftly cancelled.
Rice then sent a text to Kay soon after the incident stating that the Frenchman had changed his mind and the deal was off.
“I signed for QPR on the rebound from Arsenal,” Barton described the episode in his new book ‘No Nonsense’ as reported by the Daily Star.
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“Pat Rice, Arsene Wenger’s assistant, had told Peter Kay they fancied me.
“A meeting with me was in the manager’s diary for the first Tuesday of the new season. He had the perfect opportunity to monitor my form three days before that, in what was to be my penultimate appearance for Newcastle, a goal-less draw against his team at St James’ Park.
“Maybe word of my potential move had filtered through to the away dressing room.
“They queued up to have a dig, and referee Peter Walton missed Alex Song’s stamp on me.
“If there was to be no red carpet, I made sure there was going to be a red card by going down like a sack of spuds when Gervinho slapped me. His outrage, on being sent off, was worth my booking.
“Rice sent Pete a text soon after: ‘Arsene says Joey will never play for this club.'”
Barton has played for Queens Park Rangers, Marseille and Burnley ever since leaving Newcastle United in 2011 and now plys his trade with Scottish Premiership club Rangers. The 34-year-old is currently in the news for being charged with placing 44 bets on football matches by the Scottish Football Association.
The Gunners can heave a sigh of relief and thank Wenger for cancelling any potential move for the midfielder as bringing him to the Emirates would have been a terrible move by the club.
He’s never reached the heights of when he was integral at Newcastle, and there is a reason why Barton never received another call up to the England squad. He certainly had several screws loose.