West Ham want Newcastle's Barton
Published 23:00 09/12/10 By Alan Nixon - Exclusive
West Ham want to buy Newcastle star Joey Barton in the transfer window - and use his fire to blast them out of the relegation zone.
The Hammers heirarchy have identified midfield dynamo Barton as the player to give their bid to beat the drop a real chance and they hope to do a £5m deal next month.
The ambitious Londoners also plan to offer Barton a five-year contract on big wages as proof of their faith in him as a long-term solution rather than just a short-term saviour.
Barton's future at the Toon is now in doubt after the departure of Chris Hughton, a manager he admired and helped him back into the game. He is one of the Magpies players who needs to be convinced about new boss Alan Pardew.
Now Newcastle owner Mike Ashley may cash in on Barton, who is on a huge contract that has just 18 months to run before he can leave for nothing.
Barton has returned to the limelight this season after putting his problems behind him and his form was one of the main reasons for the newly-promoted team's flying start.
However, the change of management has encouraged West Ham to think they have a chance of landing him. They have been on Barton's trail for months and now believe they can get him.
The key will be the size and length of contract that Hammers supremos David Sullivan and David Gold can put on the table for him, with the five-year deal bound to be tempting to the 28-year-old.
Barton seems to have put many of his demons behind him - despite the punch landed on Blackburn's Morten Gamst Pedersen that earned him a three-game FA ban at the end of Hughton's reign.
It would be a massive outlay for West Ham to get Barton, but they are chasing hard - although if they get him it could mean that skipper Scott Parker is sold to one of his admirers.