Burnley have re-signed Joey Barton on a short-term deal until the end of the season, after Lukas Jutkiewicz made his loan switch to Birmingham City permanent.
Midfielder Barton, 34, has been training with the club since his departure from Glasgow Rangers in November, and the move was confirmed by the club on Tuesday afternoon.
The former Manchester City man will only be eligible from New Year’s Day onwards, and his second debut in a claret shirt will be delayed as Barton still has one match remaining on a suspension he incurred during his time in Scotland.
The news will be a timely boost for Sean Dyche’s side, who have picked up just one win from their last six matches, as many expect Barton to play a crucial role in preserving Burnley’s top-flight status beyond the current season.
A natural fit for both parties
Barton opted for pastures new upon the expiry of his one-year deal with the Clarets in July, with Rangers the next destination in the midfielder’s career.
However, a slow start to life north of the border drew widespread criticism and, although Barton and Rangers were unbeaten in the league ahead of their trip across the city to face fierce rivals Celtic, many felt there was plenty of room for improvement.
But the manner of Rangers’ sobering 5-1 defeat to Brendan Rodgers’ side clearly irked Barton upon the reconvening of the players at training the following Monday, with choice words exchanged between Barton and fellow midfielder Andy Halliday.
Gers boss Mark Warbuton then revealed that Barton had been told to keep away from the club for three weeks as a result of the fracas, and accounts of betting infringements soon surfaced as the midfielder’s Scottish sojourn looked to be going sour.
Eventually, Barton and Rangers went their separate ways early last month, and the former was offered a lifeline by previous manager Dyche.
The Burnley chief had been quizzed on several occasions as to whether Barton would be offered a chance of rejoining the club, a topic on which he was understandably coy.
But a deal between the two seemed a natural fit, with the Clarets in need of more midfield depth and Barton keen for another crack at the Premier League.
Juktkiewicz heads for Birmingham
Meanwhile, the club have also confirmed that striker Jutkiewicz has joined Birmingham permanently, for a reported fee of £1m.
The former Everton and Middlesbrough man struggled during his time in East Lancashire and, after failing to score in his 31 appearances for the Clarets, was brought to St. Andrews by former Blues boss Gary Rowett.
Jutkiewicz has been able to produce something close to his best performances for the Midlands club, and current Birmingham manager Gianfranco Zola took up the option to snap up the striker.