Joey Barton walks out on Rangers - with a coffee machine
Return to England expected as midfielder is signed off with stress after being told to train with youth team
Joey Barton's turbulent career has taken another twist after he was signed off sick with stress at Rangers, two months after he was suspended by manager Mark Warburton over a breach of club discipline.
The former Manchester City and QPR midfielder joined the Ibrox side in May but is now set to have his contract terminated. A move back to England in January is expected, with Burnley and Aston Villa in the running for his signature.
"Barton was banished from the club following a row with team-mate Andy Halliday and manager Mark Warburton in the wake of their 5-1 Scottish Premiership defeat to Celtic on 10 September," reports Sky Sports.
A suspension followed and when the midfielder was finally allowed back into the training complex, he was reportedly "banned from using the senior players' car park and canteen" and told to train with the youth team, says the Daily Record.
Barton was furious with the arrangement and the Record says his Rangers career came to an abrupt end last Thursday, "when he stormed out of the club's training complex for the final time with his own coffee machine under his arm".
It adds: "Barton reacted furiously after being frogmarched into the first-team dressing room by a security guard and ordered to empty out his locker". On his way out, he stopped off at the canteen to grab the top-of-the-range coffee machine he had bought for his team-mates as "a gesture of good will".
He was "signed off on the sick with stress", the following day and "is now on the brink of landing a bumper pay off to severe [sic] all ties with Rangers".
"Rangers could pay up Barton's reputed £20,000-a-week contract until January, allowing him to train with a new club before signing when the transfer window opens," says ESPN. "Burnley manager Sean Dyche has refused to rule out a return to Turf Moor for the Liverpudlian, who turned down a new Clarets deal in the summer to sign a two-year contract at Ibrox."
Barton also faces a disciplinary hearing for allegedly placing bets on 44 matches over the summer.