JOEY Barton is NOT planning to quit Newcastle United in the summer.
And the influential midfielder is instead ready to commit his long-term future to the club.
Barton has been linked with a move away from St James’s Park, with manager Alan Pardew having revealed earlier this year contract talks, which had been at an advanced stage, had been put on hold until the end of the season.
That has been taken as an indication Barton’s future lies away from Tyneside, with a number of clubs at home and abroad understood monitoring Barton’s situation.
However, the 28-year-old – who is out of contract next year – is mindful that the club, and just as importantly its fans, backed him through his troubled and injury-hit early years at Newcastle.
Also, Barton, now in his fourth season at the club, is as settled off the field as he is on it at United.
And the former Manchester City player – who would have to settle for a pay cut if he does stay – is still hopeful issues over the length of his proposed new deal can be resolved over the coming weeks and months.
“Joey wants to stay at Newcastle because he’s happy,” said a source close to Barton.
“He may be opinionated at times, but he hasn’t forgotten what Newcastle have done for him during his time at the club, and he’s got a lot of respect for all of the staff there from the manager down.
“There has been talk that he was ready to quit the club, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. His main priority is to stay here.
“Joey has got a great rapport with the Newcastle fans, who obviously appreciate his efforts on the pitch, and he wants that relationship to continue.”
Barton’s form this season has again seen him tipped for international recognition, though he was again overlooked by England coach Fabio Capello for recent internationals.
His assist for Peter Lovenkrands’s goal in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Blackpool was his eighth of the season.
Pardew - who enjoys a good relationship with Barton - is determined to keep him and defender Jose Enrique at St James’s Park.