'My future must lie elsewhere' says Barton

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The Independent Online

Joey Barton has admitted he might have been too quick to hand in a transfer request at Manchester City, but the midfielder insists he is not being motivated by greed.

The England Under-21 international reacted with fury when City presented him with a take-it-or-leave-it, £28,000-a-week offer. Barton does not believe the four-year deal ranks him among City'stop earners, which is where he thinks he should be after recent performances.

Instead of biding his time and waiting to see whether City's stance softened over the remainder of the season, Barton demanded a move.

But while Rangers are thought to have made an 11th-hour bid to secure the 23-year-old on loan until the end of the season, no deal could be done, so Barton must stay at Eastlands at least until the summer and face the wrath of the supporters who have stood by him during his troubled recent past.

"Maybe I was a bit impetuous in handing a transfer request in but I have been backed into a corner," Barton said. "There are no negotiations so as far as I am concerned, my future lies elsewhere.

"It has been a hard year and this is the last thing I needed but it is something I have to deal with. I know there are people out there with agendas who are trying to make me out to be a money-grabber.

"People are saying I am being greedy but that is just not the case. My performances prove I value myself a lot higher than the club. I never wanted to leave and I am willing to listen to what the club have to say.

"I had a good chat with the manager yesterday and in his heart, he could see where I was coming from."

While wage disputes are nothing new among football's high rollers, on this occasion, Barton appears to have got his timing badly wrong.

By going public with his discontent in such a forceful manner barely 24 hours before the transfer window closed, the Huyton-born player alienated himself not just from the City board, but from supporters and team-mates as well.

The reception reserved in the Blues' dressing-room for a player who believes himself to be a cut above the rest is bound to be frosty, particularly given the medals amassed by the likes of Andrew Cole and international caps won by David James and Claudio Reyna.

If Barton's relationship with his team-mates may be difficult, the bond with the supporters has been severed virtually beyond repair.

The main complaint of Blues supporters is the lack of loyalty shown by a man their club has stood by, firstly after he stubbed a cigar out in the face of his team-mate Jamie Tandy at a club Christmas party in 2004, and then when he attacked a young Everton fan in a Bangkok bar during City's pre-season trip to Thailand last year.

But while he is grateful for their backing, Barton does not believe he owes the club anything, having more than repaid their loyalty on the pitch.

"People have stood by me and given me a lot. But if I had not been worth anything to them, I would not still be at the club.

"I was part of their plans, which is why they stood by me. They needed me and, with my performances on the pitch, I have shown why they had faith in me. But if I was a footballer of lesser ability, I would have been out of the door."

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