Newcastle rule out a move for Barton

Roeder surprised at link with City midfielder but striker Crouch heads the wanted list
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The Independent Football

Newcastle United are not apparently interested in signing Joey Barton from Manchester City. It had been reported yesterday that the North-east club were about to clinch a £5.5million deal to take the City midfielder to St James' Park.

Manager Glenn Roeder and chairman Freddy Shepherd have drawn up a list of targets for the January transfer window with a striker and defenders their priorities. Roeder is keeping the identities of his wanted men close to his chest, although Liverpool frontman Peter Crouch is one of them despite Rafa Benitez's statement that he is going nowhere, and there is interest in the Southampton full-back Gareth Bale and the Derby County midfielder Giles Barnes.

But although there was no public comment from the Magpies on 24-year-old Barton yesterday, they were privately surprised at the link, which suggested he was being recruited as a replacement for Turkish international Emre. The former Internazionale midfielder has been touted as a possible replacement for Bayern Munich's England international Owen Hargreaves should he finally switch to Manchester United.

Barton's burgeoning form this season has seen him linked with a series of potential purchasers (as well as with an England call-up), but Newcastle are strong in central midfield with Scott Parker, Nicky Butt and Emre battling for two places when everyone is fit. Nolberto Solano, Damien Duff, James Milner and Charles N'Zogbia provide options out wide and Kieron Dyer is able to play in a variety of positions.

Meanwhile, Wigan manager Paul Jewell has beaten Manchester United, Blackburn and Bolton to the signature of the highly rated Norway midfielder Kristofer Haestad.

The 23-year-old, voted Norway's midfielder of the year last year, has signed on loan for the rest of the season from IK Start. Haestad is Jewell's second signing in the space of 48 hours after bringing in Sweden Under-21 international centre-back Andreas Granqvist from Helsingborg, also on a season-long loan.

"We've been watching him for a while now, and I know there were other Premiership clubs in the hunt too, so I'm delighted to have him on board," said Jewell. "He's a player I think has the right attributes to play in this country. He can play anywhere across the middle, and at 23, he's exactly the right age to test himself in the Premiership."

Like Granqvist, Haestad will have to wait until next weekend's FA Cup third-round tie at Portsmouth to be able to make his debut. Haestad said: "It is a dream to play in England, and I am grateful to Wigan for taking a chance. Now I want to do all I can to repay them and prove I am good enough to make it."