Arsene Wenger in recent years has often been criticized for not being aggressive enough during the transfer window. While the team has always showed the talent and the skill to win, they’ve repeatedly come up short in every competition for far too long. This summer, Arsenal has been linked with their fair share of plausible targets such as Blackburn center back Christopher Samba and Ivorian striker Gervinho from Lille. However, recent reports have speculated that the Gunners may be involved in one of the most bizarre transfer rumors of the summer after being linked with Newcastle United midfielder Joey Barton.
Barton is rumored to be unhappy with Newcastle as more players on the roster are being transferred or expected to leave. He admitted, “I don’t want to leave Newcastle, my family is settled in the area, I’ve got a great working relationship with everybody at the club but if someone came in and, hypothetically, offered me Champions League football, whether I’d signed a five, six or seven-year deal at Newcastle, I’d have to consider it.”
While Arsenal has failed to win any trophies for over six years, they have been a consistent top four team who regularly play Champions League football. This could attract him to the Emirates as he would move into their midfield to provide character, experience and depth. He’s a dead ball specialist capable of whipping balls into the box as well as being a tough defender. Barton can provide the fighting spirit needed to inspire others to glory which has eluded Arsenal for far too long. The transfer fee is expected to only be around 1.5 million euros which could be the steal of the summer if he plays well. At 28, Barton still has a lot more years to offer.
However, the cons may simply outweigh the pros as his baggage is extraordinary. Barton’s reputation precedes himself as his actions both on and off the pitch have been simply appalling. His immaturity and volatile temper has to make anyone question whether Wenger can actually control him.
While Barton has been a resurgent figure who has cleaned himself up, one cause for concern is that playing for Arsenal may carry higher expectations and amount more pressure than with Newcastle. The stress to perform on a top team may be too much for Barton to handle. His history shows that he can quickly become a nightmare to handle, which could potentially bring the team down at crucial stretches of the season.
Wenger would be taking quite a gamble in the English bad boy who has hardly ever been recognized for his maturity or attitude. For such a miniscule transfer fee, Arsenal may seemingly have little to lose and much to gain in a tough, veteran English footballer. However, the risk of having a troublemaker like Joey Barton is likely too much to take.