By Dominic Toner
Derby are interested in signing Rangers midfielder Joey Barton, according to a report.
The Scottish Sun claim that Derby manager Steve McClaren is prepared to hand Barton a lifeline after his ordeal at Rangers.
It is understood that the 34-year-old will be offered the chance to train with the Championship club with a view to a signing.
The central midfielder helped Burnley secured Premier League last season and McClaren feels he could be a boost to his side’s promotion push, with the club currently six points adrift of the play-off positions.
Barton has agreed a pay-off deal with Rangers that will leave him free to join another club in the January transfer window.
The Scottish Sun claim the Ibrox club will pay the Englishman £250,000 to leave, with his existing contract not set to expire until the summer of 2018.
He is currently unable to play after being listed as unfit by a doctor and has been signed off from training with stress.
Barton was first suspended by Rangers in September after a bust-up with Andy Halliday in training, which took place in the wake of the humiliation 5-1 defeat to Old Firm rivals Celtic.
His exile continued following allegations from the Scottish Football Association that he broke betting rules between 1 July and 15 September, with the 34-year-old scheduled to face a judicial panel on 17 November.
He made just eight appearances during his brief stay at Rangers, but could be set for a return to the Championship.
In other Rangers transfer news, Arsenal have lined up a move for the club’s emerging star dubbed the new Andres Iniesta.