Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger praises Joey Barton’s ‘courage’ and refuses to rule out signing Newcastle star after Gervinho bust-up

Gunners boss says he still rates Toon midfielder highly as a player and will not dismiss trying to sign him now Cesc Fabregas is set for Spain, although a move is unlikely
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has revealed he admires Joey Barton’s “courage” and refused to rule out the possibility of trying to sign him this summer, despite the Newcastle midfielder’s role in the dismissal of new Gunners signing Gervinho on Saturday.

Midway through the second half at St James’ Park, Barton provoked a physical confrontation with Gervinho and then collapsed to the floor when struck by him in the ensuing melee, resulting in the Ivorian’s dismissal.

Barton has since admitted he made the most of the contact, and after the match Wenger was keen to stress the positive qualities of Newcastle’s much-maligned midfielder.

"I like the courage of the player," the Frenchman told reporters.

The Arsenal manager even refused to rule out the possibility of signing Barton now Cesc Fabregas is set to depart for Barcelona, although he did reveal a move is unlikely.

He added: "Nobody dismisses signing Joey Barton but I don't think we envisage doing that at the moment.

"He's a good player. Sometimes there's trouble with his temper but he's a great player."

"Maybe the way to sort Barton out is to sign him," the Gunners boss joked. "Maybe that's the solution."