Newcastle midfielder Joey Barton was back at QPR's training ground yesterday undergoing the second part of his medical. The 28-year-old travelled to London yesterday and underwent initial tests as the promoted club attempted to persuade him to head for the capital.
Barton has indicated that he is edging towards agreeing to join Rangers with no new contract offer from the Magpies on the table. However, he had previously suggested that he would see out the final year of his existing deal on Tyneside and has started the club's two Premier League games this season.
Talks on a new contract at St James' Park stalled in January and the offer with which he was presented then has since been withdrawn. But relations between the two parties have soured further since, with the player receiving a fine of two weeks' wages after criticising the club's transfer policy via his Twitter account.
Barton was giving little away when interviewed at the training ground yesterday, saying: "The latest is that we are just completing the final stages of the medical, so we will just get that over and done with and then see where we are at. I have not made a final decision just yet, but speaking to the club, they have got big ambitions and I had to come down and hear what they have got to say and go through the formalities of the medical side of it just in case any deal does happen."
Asked if he was optimistic, Barton replied: "I am not sure. There are still a number of things to be sorted out, but it's a process you have to take step by step, and that's the stage we are at."
The new QPR chief executive, Philip Beard, is hopeful the Barton deal will go through before next Wednesday's transfer deadline. "I'm expecting a few deals to go through in the next few days," Beard said. "I think it will take us until close to the end [of the transfer window] to make sure we've got the deals in place to strengthen the squad and, hopefully, give us a really good chance of stability in the best league in the world.
"What we need is to strengthen in certain areas – it's not about how many, but the quality of players. It's going to be an interesting season, an exciting season. We need to be realistic but I think if we get the deals done we hope to do, not only will QPR fans be happy but the owners will be happy and Mr Warnock [manager Neil Warnock] will hopefully be happy too.
"We're making a lot of progress in different areas. We intend to make some decisions over the next few days which we hope demonstrate our commitment – not just off the pitch with prices and things like that – but also on the pitch," Beard added.