Barton: Gervinho's red card scuppered my move to Arsenal

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The Independent Online

Joey Barton has claimed he held talks with the Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger before he signed for Queen's Park Rangers.

The new QPR captain believes his hopes of becoming an Arsenal player were ruined by his involvement in Gervinho's sending-off on the opening day of the Premier League season.

Playing in what proved to be his final home match for Newcastle last month, Barton grappled with Gervinho after he thought the new Arsenal striker had dived in the box. Barton then fell to the ground clutching his face after the merest of touches from Gervinho, who was shown a red card.

Midfielder Barton said: "If I hadn't played against Arsenal on the first day, I may have signed for them. There were a couple of conversations [with Wenger] but that's different to actually signing.

"The Gervinho incident happened and there's nothing I can do about it now. If it happened again, I'd like to think I'd deal with it differently. Things happen for a reason and there's a lesson to be learned from it. Right now, we sit above Arsenal in the table – hopefully that's the case in May."

Barton was made available on a free transfer by Newcastle this summer after the player criticised on Twitter the way the club was being run.

He added: "There were a couple of offers on the table but now I'm really happy to be at QPR and in London. We play an expansive and exciting brand of football and can hopefully surprise a few people this season."

Meanwhile, fellow Rangers new signing D J Campbell revealed yesterday that he had still not fully recovered from a virus and promised even more goals after scoring his first for the club on Saturday.

Campbell was ruled out for a month after making his debut for his boyhood idols against Bolton Wanderers in the disappointing 4-0 defeat on the opening day of the season. But the summer capture from Blackpool came off the bench in game against Newcastle 10 days ago and did the same at Wolves last weekend, scoring his side's third goal at Molineux.

"Injuries are tough enough to take, but missing out due to illness is even worse," Campbell told the club's official website, www.qpr.co.uk. "I felt a bit below par before the Bolton game but I played through it. It got really bad after that game though and I felt really weak.

"I'm nowhere near 100 per cent yet, but I'm slowly but surely feeling stronger by the day and the best is definitely yet to come from me."

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