Manchester United are considering a stunning potential move for Joey Barton.
Barton's representatives are understood to have been in contact with Old Trafford coaching staff and discussed the possibility of bringing in the Newcastle midfielder as a squad player.
On the move: Barton checks his phone as he heads to training on Friday morning
The fact Barton is free is a major factor in negotiations although the 29-year-old is keen to play regular football.
Other big clubs have also made contact with Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester City all watching developments. However, Barton wants to build on his performances last season and the amount of prospective game time he gets will play a major factor in his decision.
In demand: Barton keeps the ball away from Ryan Giggs during Newcastle's clash with Manchester United in April this year
The Liverpudlian wants to push himself back into England reckoning and wants the move to give him the right chance. His wages of ?65,000 a week are too rich for some clubs but ambitious Stoke and Celtic remain interested.
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew and United boss Sir Alex Ferguson spoke earlier in the week, following Barton's indiscretions on Twitter.
Ringing for advice: Alan Pardew has been speaking with Sir Alex Ferguson
It is understood Pardew was seeking out Ferguson for advice, with the 69-year-old known to take a typically hardline view on the matter.
Newcastle have also expressed an interest in United winger Gabriel Obertan.
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