NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - APRIL 02: Joey Barton of Newcastle United controls the ball during the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and Wolverhampton Wanderers at St James' Park on April 2, 2011 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Joey Barton has been released from Newcastle, free to move to a new team. Early reports have Tottenham among the teams pursuing the mercurial midfielder. Many will say that they don't want Barton--and they're wrong. Joey Barton is 100% the kind of player that Tottenham needs right now. And here's why:
1. He's Class: You can say what you will about the way the Spurs squad is made up, but there's one thing we need more than anything--talent. We're fighting an uphill battle to return to the top 4, and a player like Barton could make an immense difference. Able to play in the center of the midfield or wide, Joey Barton provides a facsimile of Jermaine Jenas... only if Jenas was bigger, stronger, and better at everything. A creative presence with a tremendous engine and defensive responsibility, Barton could be the true box-to-box midfielder that Jenas failed to become and Huddlestone lacks the capability to be.
2. He Fills a Need: The possible sale of Luka Modric has been feared by Tottenham supporters, but the arrival of Barton would make the sale much more tolerable. With Sandro injured, Tom Huddlestone was likely to be the pairing for Luka Modric. They are a creative pairing, but don't do well to strengthen the Spurs defense. Barton's fearlessness and energy for the pressing game could not only take some defensive pressures off our talented wingers, but also create the counterattacks that could prove fruitful for Tottenham. While we'd miss Luka's close control and distribution, Barton is a fine passer and would add a needed grit to the Tottenham Spine.
3. He's Versatile: Modric doesn't need to depart to make Barton useful. He can spell Lennon wide right, playing a bit more centrally and attacking (especially useful if a right back like Kyle Walker is playing behind him, giving wide support). He could pair with Modric against weaker sides, allowing Tottenham to control possession. If Harry were ever to try a 4-3-3 he could be excellent as well, clogging the midfield while players like Bale, Lennon, and VdV can get wide up the pitch.
4. He's Hard: It's been years since Tottenham had a true hardman. Palacios can be an ankle breaker but doesn't bring the intimidation (and takes too many dumb cards). Stephen Carr could get feisty, but wasn't the same kind of impact maker Barton is. Spurs need a man who can put in an equalizer, stand up for his teammates when they are wrongly done, and instigate the opponents.
5. He's Free: Harry Redknapp and Daniel Levy love them a free transfer. Carlo Cudicini, William Gallas, and Brad Friedel were all acquired via Bosman. With every free dime needing to be saved to upgrade at striker, Barton would provide a fantastic upgrade without having to dig into our war chest.
6. Arsenal Hate Him: Forget every other reason, this just might be the most important one. He puts in hard tackles on Abou Diaby, insults the Arsenal players and their supporters, and winds them up so thoroughly they have to write manifestos on their hate. For services rendered against the Arse, Joey Barton is welcome to come down to White Hart Lane.