NEWCASTLE United midfielder Joey Barton has admitted he is ‘devastated’ at the news that captain Kevin Nolan was today on the verge of joining West Ham United.
SportMail understands that Nolan is in London having a medical with the Hammers after the Magpies agreed to sell their skipper.
However the switch is by no means a formality, with Nolan weighing up whether he wants to drop back down into the Championship, while personal terms must also be agreed.
Barton, a close pal of fellow Scouser Nolan’s, was stunned after hearing the news on his way to Royal Ascot this afternoon.
He tweeted: “Great player, leader, captain, person, trainer and mostly a friend for life. Devastated to see him sold.”
The Gazette revealed last month that Nolan and his advisors were way apart in agreeing terms on a new deal with Newcastle, and news that he had snubbed a contract offer was confirmed last week.
The 28-year-old still has two years left on his deal, but having rejected an initial £3m bid from West Ham, Mike Ashley appears to be ready to cash in on the player.
Should the move go through, Nolan will be reunited with Sam Allardyce, who was his manager at Bolton.
Failed Newcastle boss Allardyce, appointed as boss at Upton Park just two weeks ago, has made Nolan his No1 target this summer as he looks to lead the Hammers back to the Premier League after they were relegated at the end of the season.
The move will split United fans, many of who will remember Nolan’s contribution in pulling the dressing room together in the wake of Newcastle’s relegation to the Championship in 2009.
Nolan was a hugely influential figure under former boss Chris Hughton, bagging 15 goals as the Magpies returned to the top flight at the first attempt, and then finishing last season as the club’s top scorer with 12 strikes, including an unforgettable hat-trick in the 5-1 derby demolition of rivals Sunderland.
Should he leave, he will leave a huge void in the Newcastle changing room where he is massively influential along with the likes of Barton, who also rejected a new contract last month, Steve Harper and Alan Smith, who has also been told he can leave the club this summer.