As you may have heard, Joey Barton is likely to snub the Premier League to play at Rangers for two seasons instead, with Mark Warburton offering him a two-year deal. It's an undoubtedly impressive coup if the club can pull it off, but while Mr Barton may be a talented footballer, he comes with his... ehh... drawbacks. So what are the reasons for and against the move? Here, we briefly summarise:
Pro: He's just come off the back of an excellent season
Barton was in the Championship team of the year, started 37 times, and won the Player of the Year award, all for the team that finished first. He's quite clearly a very, very good footballer and would possibly be our best player if he oined. While he's flickered from excellent to shocking in his career, we can mostly put that down to his mentality. Speaking of which...
Con: He's a roaster
Some people like to portray Mr Barton as a reformed character. While this is partly true, in essence, he has simply transformed from one genre of prick into another. A preferable type of dobber, admittedly, since he's unlikely to be stubbing out cigars in Barrie McKay's eyes, but he's still just generally a riddy. He has also claimed on numerous occasions to be a Celtic fan. The counter-argument is that, as a footballer, he's been sheltered from real life so is having his teenage phase now. He's a faddy person. You know that person you have on Facebook from school who posts incessantly about their new diet/activism/religion/ambition for six months then never says a peep again? That's Joey. He probably just 'supported' Celtic because he thought the Che Guevara flags were cool. The upside to this is that he might get right in with the Rangers mentality, the downside is he might end up being one of those guys who takes it too far, never really gets it and just becomes a riddy, like when Terry Butcher threw out his Simple Minds records when they released 'Belfast Child.' But that's the price you pay.
Pro: He brings us things we're missing
Some things Rangers' midfield currently lacks: Experience, steel, grit, somebody with a good range of passing, goals. Joey Barton can bring all of these things. He is, in many ways, the perfect signing. He won't be around too long to obstruct the likes of Liam Burt, Jordan Rossiter and Jordan Thompson, but he can perform multiple roles. He'll basically be a better and more natural version of Andy Halliday.
Con: He's not young
Joey Barton is 33, and will be 34 in September. We are offering him a two-year deal, to a player who is both getting on and not exactly known for extended periods of stability. It could pose a major risk, even though he's been fit and injury-free for the vast majority of his career.
Pro: He's got some profile
Joey Barton has a profile that extends beyond his not inconsiderable footballing ability, and will make us at least a wee bit more relevant and interesting to the wider world again. You may not care about this, but it's probably only a good thing. Probably.
Con: It'll mean less Hollywood Halliday
Yes. We love Andy Halliday, and while some folk questioned his ability, he played the game of his life against Celtic in a genuinely all-time great display from anyone in a Rangers shirt. Being versatile and something of a big game performer will surely see Halliday get his chances, but it's one less born-and-bred Bear in the team if, as you would expect, his place is taken by Barton. Again, you might not care, and Mr Warburton probably doesn't. But it's still a shame.