Newcastle explore ripping up Barton contract

Newcastle United are already seeking ways of terminating the contract of Joey Barton, it has been revealed.

The Daily Mail says Newcastle officials are looking at ways of terminating Barton's five-year contract if he is found guilty of assault and affray.

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The midfielder is spending New Year behind bars when manager Sam Allardyce needs him in his midfield.

Under-fire Allardyce worked hard to convince new owner Mike Ashley and chairman Chris Mort to sanction the £5.8million transfer from Manchester City and the club had already negotiated a get-out clause if Barton is found guilty next year of assaulting his former City team-mate Ousmane Dabo.

Now facing an additional, but less serious, offence of common assault, which carries a maximum six-month prison sentence, Newcastle are considering their options before Barton's next remand hearing on Thursday.

That may ultimately entail cancelling his contract but retaining his registration to protect their investment. They could then demand compensation should another club take him on.

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