Joey Barton is within his rights to discuss a potential move to Everton, agent Willie McKay has insisted.
The Manchester City midfielder was subject of bid from Toffees boss David Moyes, which was rebuffed by City counterpart Stuart Pearce.
McKay claims Barton, 24, has a clause in his contract allowing him to speak to any club that makes a bid of £5.5million and it is believed this was the figure Everton offered.
'If a club makes a bid of £5.5million, he can speak to anyone if he so wishes,' McKay told PA Sport.
'There is a clause in his contract that he can leave for that sum.'
McKay says Liverpool-born Barton is 'not desperate' to quit Eastlands but should be allowed to make up his own mind whether to open talks with Everton.
'Joey should be made aware of the offer and asked if he wants to speak to them,' McKay said.
'The clause in Joey Barton's contract is a Joey Barton clause, not a Manchester City clause.
'He is not desperate to leave City but there is a clause that can be activated if he so wishes.'
Moyes earlier revealed City had rejected his approach for Barton, telling his club's official website: 'I can confirm that we have made an enquiry for Joey Barton.
'However, Manchester City made it clear he was not for sale and we respect the wishes of the club and Stuart Pearce.'
Barton's City future has been open to speculation since he put in a transfer request after rejecting the offer of a new contract last year.
However, he eventually put pen to paper on a four-year deal in the summer.
City have refused to discuss the terms of that new contract, with club spokesman Paul Tyrrell telling PA Sport: 'We never talk about the private details in players' contracts, although clearly Mr McKay does.'