By Harry Sykes

Aston Villa have no interest in signing Joey Barton, according to a reliable journalist.

BBC Midlands reporter Pat Murphy has claimed that the Championship giants are not in the race to sign the controversial midfielder following his release from Rangers.

Villa have been one of the clubs credited with an interest in Barton, along with second-tier rivals Leeds and Premier League outfit Burnley.

But Murphy revealed on his personal Twitter account that Villa are “not in for Barton” as he also explained that there will be little transfer activity from new manager Steve Bruce in the January window.

The reliable journalist said Villa, who spent over £50million on new signings in the summer, are “close to the limit on financial fair play” and will hold cash in reserve until June 2017.

The Chronicle claimed on Wednesday that Bruce wants to land the controversial midfielder Barton as he steps up his Villa overhaul.

Barton has agreed a pay-off deal with Rangers that will leave him free to join another club in the January window.

Bruce has achieved an immediate turnaround since taking over at Villa Park, steering the club to three wins and two draws in his first five matches in charge.

In other Aston Villa transfer news, Bruce wants cover for an £8million ace and has turned to a 38-cap international.