Regarded by many as a talented central midfielder with an all-action approach, Joey Barton has divided opinion in the football World with his belief in laying his thoughts out on the line. Yet one club for certain hold a special place in their hearts for him and he does for them. Barton is set to return to his former club Burnley until the end of the season.
A brief but illustrious history with the Clarets
Following several seasons apiece at Manchester City, Newcastle United and Queens Park Rangers, Barton spent a year on loan to Marseille before signing for Burnley last season. His determined and passionate nature saw him drive the Clarets to promotion from the Championship, earning the accolade of Burnley's Player of the Season in the process. With 111 tackles, more than any other player in the league, Barton's expertise did not go unnoticed by his fellow professionals either as he was named in the Championship PFA Team of the Year.
Yet with his contract up for renewal, Barton chose to try his hand in the Scottish Premier League as he signed for Rangers on a Bosman transfer. However, the central midfielder only made eight appearances before seeing his contract terminated after "a training ground bust-up".
Dyche offers a way back
With the 34-year old entering the latter stages of his career, Barton was dealt a lifeline when former manager Sean Dyche gave him the opportunity to train with the Burnley squad several weeks ago. Since then the experienced campaigner proved his continued ability and commitment for the cause, resulting in Burnley offering him a new deal.
The midfielder will now look to slot back into an industrious midfield in the fight against relegation, as he seeks to add to his previous 38 appearances for the club. He may have to wait a bit longer though, with a one game ban for betting allegations hanging over his name. Burnley find themselves 16th, three points above the relegation zone, but with just a solitary draw to their name away from Turf Moor.