Barton to be involved for Magpies
ALAN PARDEW is ready to give today's St James' Park crowd a huge lift by including Joey Barton in Newcastle United's squad to face Arsenal. And the indications last night were that the Magpies manager is set to name the controversial midfielder in his starting line-up for today's game. Pardew has held further talks with Barton in the last 48 hours and is satisfied the 28-year-old can concentrate on turning in a fully-committed performance for the Magpies. A summer of intense speculation, which led to him being made available for a free transfer after criticising the club's transfer policy, has left him contemplating his future. And while there is every chance Barton will leave before the transfer window closes if a suitable offer comes along, Pardew accepts the 28-year-old remains a key member of his squad. Now, after discussing the situation again with the former Manchester City man, Pardew feels Barton will be 100 per cent committed to performing for Newcastle if called upon. Whatever direction the Barton - who was given the number seven shirt yesterday - saga takes in the future, Pardew thinks transfers are just part and parcel of football and can't assure anyone where the player will be next month or next year. And he highlighted how Arsenal will be heading to Tyneside tonight without two of their most influential players, who remain keen to secure moves to Barcelona and Manchester City. "Man City are backed by a sovereign state which has given them unprecedented spending power even in our mad, mad world," said Pardew. "Even their (Arsenal) great players are vulnerable if the big clubs do get involved. "With Samir Nasri that is the situation as well as Cesc Fabregas with Barcelona, who you have to put in to that category as well. They are in a similar position to us. "I am sure their players and fans are wondering why Fabregas and Nasri may want to leave a great club like Arsenal. It happens in this business, if the player isn't mentally there for you, it causes too many problems elsewhere and the best thing is to move them on elsewhere." Pardew, who has revealed Newcastle will be without Hatem Ben Arfa for a further four to five weeks through injury, is looking ahead to the football starting again this afternoon - after a troubled summer. But he is not expecting a repeat of the February 5 showdown with the Gunners, when Newcastle came from four goals down to draw 4-4. "It was one of the great games of the season, something I will never forget and the atmosphere was phenomenal," said Pardew. "At half-time I thought we were in trouble. Not just for that game but for the season. We had just lost Andy Carroll, there was a lot of bad feeling about, but in adversity, which seems to be a bracket to this football club at times, we managed to pull it round." Newcastle's Spanish flop Xisco, meanwhile, has returned to Deportivo La Coruna for a third spell. The 25-year-old has moved on loan for the season and his existing contract at Newcastle expires next summer.
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