Angry Pearce aims to persuade Barton to stay

January 31, 2006

Furious Manchester City manager Stuart Pearce is confident he can persuade Joey Barton his future lies at from Eastlands despite his frustration at the midfielder's shock transfer request.

The England Under-21 international sensationally stated his intention to quit City last night, a move which was instantly rejected by the Blues manager.

Already Barton appears to be facing a backlash from supporters, who are annoyed a player who they stuck by after his well-publicised personal problems during the summer.

But Pearce will attempt to smooth relations with the player over the next 24 hours and feels he can talk Barton round.

'I wouldn't have done what Joey did after the club stood by him in the summer,' said Pearce.

'I am disappointed, but more for the fans and chairman.

'But we hope to secure him on a long-term contract. I will talk to him today and I think something will be sorted out.'

Pearce listened in growing anger as Barton's advisor Willie McKay explained in a radio interview the matter was nothing to do with money, yet at the same time expressed his opinion if City had met the midfielder's demands in the first place, the argument would never have surfaced.

The City board are steadfast in their belief the original offer of £28,750-a-week will not be increased.

'No, we won't increase it,' said Pearce.

'The club has made Joey a fantastic offer but his agent has said it wasn't about money, so I need to talk to him and found out what the situation is about.'

Pearce is also mystified at McKay's claims that Barton feels he is being taken for granted at the club.

'No, I don't understand where he is coming from,' said the City boss. 'That statement was completely bizarre.'

McKay told Radio Five Live: 'It is not just all about money. It is about Joey Barton wants to go and where Manchester City want to go.

'If Manchester City had come back with the offer we had asked for, which in my opinion is below what Joey should be getting any way, then Joey would have signed the contract. I think he is a little bit upset.'

McKay added: 'I am appointed by Joey to do the best for Joey. It is not just Manchester City, other clubs take you for granted when you come through the ranks,' he added.

'During those difficult times, if he was not the player he was and was on the periphery of the team, a below-average player, in my opinion I don't think Manchester City would have stuck by him.'