JOEY BARTON was last night still mulling over a move to QPR, admitting he has been left impressed by the south-west London club’s ambitions but requires time to make a decision on his future.
The 28-year-old remains out of favour among the Newcastle top brass following a succession of high-profile public critiques of the club on a social media website that led to United making him available on a free transfer.
And though Magpies manager Alan Pardew would prefer to retain the influential midfielder, Barton was in the capital on Wednesday for a medical and talks with the Loftus Road outfit.
Blisters were cited as the reason for his omission from last night’s Carling Cup second-round tie at Scunthorpe United - which they won 2-1 in extra-time.
And before then, Barton yesterday explained that he was continuing to size up his options after he was made what QPR boss Neil Warnock described as a “very good offer”.
“I have not made a final decision just yet,” Barton said.
“But speaking to the club they have got big ambitions and I had to come down and hear what they have to say and got through the formalities of the medical side of it just in case any deal does happen.”
He later Tweeted: “Need some thinking time and space . . .”
And Warnock added: “I am not getting my hopes up. We’ve made him a very good offer and I think Joey appreciates that.”
Meanwhile, United have been told to increase their bid for Lyon left-back Aly Cissokho if they are to stand any chance of landing the 23-year-old.
Cissokho cost the French side 15 million from Porto two years ago, and, while Newcastle seem to favour a move for PSV Eindhoven full-back Erik Pieters, they are unlikely to lure the Lyon man to St James’ Park unless they improve their offer.
“Currently, Aly Cissokho gives us a lot of problems because every day he comes to ask us to leave,” said Lacombe. “It would be annoying if he left just a few days before the end of the transfer window.
“Newcastle made us an offer, but the problem is that the English club want to give us just half of what he cost us. If that’s still the case then Aly will stay with us.”
Meanwhile, the Magpies left it late to book their place in the Carling Cup third-round draw, with Sammy Ameobi’s extra-time striker clinching a 2-1 victory over Scunthorpe.
United had trailed to Chris Dagnall’s 15th-minute goal, and struggled to impose themselves on the game in the first half.
And although they looked much better in the second half, they were denied an equaliser by the linesman’s flag for offside against Leon Best.
And then Ryan Taylor seemed to be fouled inside the box – only for the referee to wave play-on.
However, last Saturday’s derby hero Taylor struck again with a superb free-kick to level things on 80 minutes and take the game into extra-time. And substitute Sammy Ameobi then sent the travelling fans into raptures when he cut in from the left and hit an unstoppable shot past Josh Lillis.