Date: 6th July 2009 at 11:00am
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According to newspaper reports this morning, Birmingham City manager Alex McLeish is keen to take Joey Barton off Newcastle`s hands.

Speculation has it that McLeish is keen on a deal but just an initial season long loan with an option of buying after.

Barton had been suspended indefinitely by Alan Shearer at the end of last season but, with Newcastle still managerless, he has been allowed to resume pre-season training.

However, if and when Shearer finally takes charge his first act will be to move Barton on.

Birmingham could offer a mutually satisfactory escape route but the midfielder`s wages of around £65,000 a week could represent a stumbling block as Newcastle would prefer a clean break.