JOEY Barton insists he does not want to follow close pal Kevin Nolan out of Newcastle United – and instead wants to help them lift silverware in the new season.
Barton has been widely tipped to leave this summer after talks over a new deal broke down.
But it is Nolan who will be exiting St James’s Park. The Magpies’ captain rejected a new contract this month and the club have accepted a bid from West Ham, who underwent a medical with the Championship outfit yesterday ahead of a reported £3.5million transfer.
The news came as a shock to his good friend Barton, who admitted yesterday that he was devastated, but the 28-year-old is adamant he doesn’t want to follow Nolan out of Newcastle.
“I have a great working relationship with the manager and have got no ambitions to leave the football club,” he said. “And I would love nothing more than to win a trophy at Newcastle.
“Whether I get the opportunity to do that is out of my hands.”
While Barton’s future remains unclear, he restated his desire to at least see out the remaining year on his contract.
But with Newcastle obviously keen to trim the wage bill, they may decide to cash in on the one-cap England man, who earns £60,000 a week, before losing him for nothing next summer.
Everton are interested in his services, though Barton is trying not to get distracted by the talk about his future.
“It’s a difficult situation and I totally understand the club’s point of view, but, on the flip side, it’s hard for me to get drawn into it,” he said.
“As far as I know, I will go back to Newcastle United and play until my contract runs out and they tell me I am no longer needed.
“If they choose to do something, I would be foolish not to listen to it. If I’m not wanted then I believe greatly in my ability, and I would have to re-evaluate my options.
“That’s the situation we are at. If that’s the situation in a month’s time then I will report back for pre-season training, if it’s not then it’s not.
“It’s all hypothetical at the minute, and I’m just trying to keep myself in shape.”
Barton hailed West Ham-bound Nolan, saying: “He’s a great pal and he’s done a great job for the football club.
“Hopefully the move breaks down, but if it doesn’t you’ve got to believe in the process of the football club, and no one player is bigger than the club.
“It’s not for me to say how much Kevin Nolan will be missed, but it would be a massive loss to any club to achieve what he has in three years.”