By Matt Farr
Burnley midfielder Joey Barton has admitted an altercation with Gervinho may have cost him a move to Arsenal in 2011.
The 34-year-old was linked with a move to the Gunners, and was set to hold discussions over a potential move from Newcastle.
However, talking in FourFourTwo, Barton believes his potential move was scuppered by his role in an altercation with Gervinho, when Newcastle met Arsenal on the opening day of the 2011-2012 season.
Barton was criticised for going to ground too easily, as Gervinho was shown a straight red-card on his Arsenal debut.
The Ivory Coast forward slapped Barton, but the midfielder made a meal of the incident, claiming to referee Peter Walton that he was punched. Controversially, Barton escaped with only a yellow card.
But the one-time capped England international looks back on the incident as one that cost him a move to one of England and Europe’s biggest clubs.
When asked how close he came to joining Arsenal and whether he spoke to the club, he told FourFourTwo: “No [I never spoke to Arsene Wenger]. Intermediaries spoke on their behalf.
“There was definitely some low-level interest, and before the thing with Gervinho happened, I was due to hold some form of discussions with them.
“But then it never came to be. Would I have liked to have played for Arsenal? Of course. Who wouldn’t?”
Barton instead quit St. James’ Park for newly-promoted Queens Park Rangers just over a week later, where he could not stop them from being relegated from the Premier League.
He joined Marseille on loan for the following season, before returning to Loftus Road for a season in the Championship. He was released at the end of the 2014-15 season.
Short spells at Burnley and Rangers followed, before Barton re-signed for Burnley on January 2.
Football Insider verdict
Arsenal can count themselves lucky not to have signed Barton. Often embroiled in controversy, the midfield troublemaker would have brought immense baggage to the Emirates, and Arsene Wenger simply wouldn’t have stood for it. He’s had a controversial moment at almost every club he has played for, including a 12-match ban for violent misconduct against Manchester City whilst playing for QPR. Even his recent spell at Rangers ended with controversy, and while he does have talent, his attitude would have stopped him becoming a major success at a big club. Arsenal and Wenger certainly dodged a bullet there in 2011.
In other Arsenal transfer news, Barcelona wonderkid Sergi Samper has revealed why he rejected Arsenal in the summer.