Not even six months into his stay at the Ibrox, Joey Barton is on the verge of a Rangers exit after reports that the Scottish giants are willing to pay their outcast £150,000 in severance in order to cut ties this week.
Fortunately for the former Manchester City bad boy, interest in his signature appears to be rife, and What Are The Odds has the latest on the 28 clubs linked with his acquisition, courtesy of Sky Bet.
After a failed experiment in Scotland’s top flight, a return to the Championship looks most likely for Barton, and Steve Bruce’s Aston Villa are the 11/10 (2.10) favourites to take the midfielder back to England’s second flight this winter.
Although the contentious engine-room specialist may divide opinion, he did help Burnley push their way back into the Premier League last season, and Bruce may consider the pros as outweighing the cons in Barton’s case.
Derby County are the other high Championship contenders to recruit Barton during the January transfer window and are priced at 3/1 (4.00) alongside former club Burnley. A Premier League return might seem unlikely, but Turf Moor boss Sean Dyche has left the door open to a reunion after describing Barton’s attitude as “exemplary,” per the Sun.
Other former employers linked with a move for the 34-year-old include manager-less Queens Park Rangers, currently priced at 14/1 (15.0), joint with fellow second-tier side Cardiff City, while Ligue 1 outfit Marseille, where Barton spent the 2012-13 season on loan, are further out at 20/1 (21.0).
Les Olympiens aren’t the only French side said to be in the running, either, with Lyon and Saint-Etienne also listed at 20/1 (21.0), while Lille are ever so slightly behind in the running at 22/1 (23.0).
There is a chance Barton might have developed a taste for Scottish football, however, in which case Hearts may not be seen as an impossible destination 1t 20/1 (21.0).
Having already tried his hand in three nations, the engine-room veteran could go international once again, though, and Valencia are the lowest-priced Spanish suitor tied to a move for Barton at 20/1 (21.0), while Celta Vigo, Malaga and Real Sociedad are further down the order at 22/1 (23.0), and Espanyol, currently 13th in La Liga, are a 25/1 (26.0) underdog.
German outfits Wolfsburg and Schalke 04 are the 25/1 (26.0) outsiders to hand Barton a lifeline outside English football, with Torino also priced at those odds after already luring one English misfit, Joe Hart, to Serie A, as are Palermo and Fiorentina.