Leeds United should have kept a fan favourite rather than allegedly pay big for a former Queens Park Rangers player.
The former Queens Park Rangers captain is now without a club having been released by Chris Ramsey’s side at the end of the Premier League campaign, but Leeds’ alleged interest in Barton raises some interesting questions.
First of all, is he really any better than Rudy Austin – a player Leeds opted to release just a few short weeks ago?
Yes, Barton has been plying his trade in the Premier League in recent times but what has he actually done?
In 28 games this season he has scored just one goal and provided just three assists and in his entire time at QPR (99 games in total) he scored seven goals and set up an additional eight.
So that is an average of a goal every 14 matches and an assist every 12.3 matches – not exactly form that would justify £1million a year in wages.
There is also the fact that Barton recently captained his side to relegation – another section on the CV that does not exactly suggest he is the player to inspire the success Cellino craves at Elland Road.
Austin may not have a record in front of goal that puts Barton’s in the shade, but neither does it pale in comparison.
The Jamaica international scored three goals and set up two more this season, while his average for Leeds is a goal every 11 matches and an assist every 22.
Of course both players are more famous for their grit and determination than their flair in front of goal, but Austin did nothing wrong this season, fighting week in, week out for the Leeds cause and (in this writer’s opinion at least) justifying a new contract offer.
It did not come, but replacing him with a 32-year-old whose current side just got relegated for a princely sum makes little sense.