Quick links

Nottingham Forest

Dougie Freedman shares how close Joey Barton came to joining Nottingham Forest in 2015

Burnley's Joey Barton

Dougie Freedman has opened up on his pursuit of Joey Barton.

Nottingham Forest manager Dougie FreedmanEx-Nottingham Forest manager Dougie Freedman

Former Nottingham Forest boss Dougie Freedman has told The Scottish Sun that Joey Barton almost signed for the club last summer.

Forest chose to sack Freedman back in March, bringing an end to his 13-month spell as manager, as the Scot left with a 33% win rate.

Burnley's Joey Barton

Freedman worked under difficult circumstances due to the club's Financial Fair Play restrictions, which meant the ex-Forest boss could only bring in loans and free agents.

The likes of Jamie Ward and Matt Mills arrived on free transfers, whilst Ryan Mendes, Nelson Oliveira and Chris O'Grady signed on loan, with Freedman severely limited in the transfer market - and he has now revealed how he wanted Joey Barton at the City Ground.

Nottingham Forest manager Dougie Freedman

Barton, 33, had just left Queens Park Rangers last summer and was on the lookout for a new club, and eventually signed for Burnley, helping the club win promotion to the Premier League in the process.

Now a Rangers player, Barton has been in the news of late following his shock move to Ibrox, and Freedman has now told of how close he came to landing the midfielder.

Burnley's Joey Barton acknowledges the crowd after the final whistle

Speaking to The Scottish Sun, Freedman admitted that he had talks with Barton about joining Forest on a free transfer - but the deal didn't go through, and after Forest midfielder Henri Lansbury's move to Burnley collapsed, Barton headed to Turf Moor instead.

"I tried to sign Barton for Forest. I met him in a pub in Richmond a year ago and we had a two-hour chat about him coming," said Freedman. "I nearly got there too. I got over the first hurdle about football, which was tough, I don’t mind telling you!"

"Then he met the Forest chairman, but we couldn’t quite get a deal done. Within 48 hours Henri Lansbury, who was going to go to Burnley, stayed at Forest, and Barton went to Burnley," he added.

Would you have liked to see Forest sign Barton last summer?

FIFA World Cup 2018FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia - click here for all of our coverage...

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch