Newcastle want the midfielder to stay and have opened talks over a new contract but Villa manager Gerard Houllier is desperate to halt his side's slump and has identified Barton as the man to revitalise them.
Fresh move: Aston Villa believe Joey Barton can revive their season
Barton has been in outstanding form and Houllier believes the 28-year-old's fiery temperament can be channelled to Villa's benefit.
Barton's representative Willie McKay said: 'A lot of clubs have shown interest but Joey is very happy at Newcastle. His ambition is to play for England again and he should do as he is the best midfielder in the country at the moment.'
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew would be reluctant to lose Barton but cash plus his former West Ham charge Reo-Coker may prove persuasive.
Pardew is also ready to fight Wolves to sign Stoke's Glenn Whelan and remains hopeful of a deal for Birmingham's Sebastian Larsson, despite a rival offer from Sunderland.
Villa remain eager to sign Blackburn captain Chris Samba, with Stephen Warnock and James Collins being discussed as possible makeweights in an £8m deal for the defender.
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Explore more:People: Sebastian Larsson, Gerard Houllier, Joey Barton Places: Newcastle, Birmingham, United Kingdom