Joey Barton signs for Rangers on two-year deal

Joey Barton shows off his new Rangers jersey
Barton said it was tough to turn down Burnley but is looking forward to a new challenge at Ibrox

Rangers have announced the signing of midfielder Joey Barton on a two-year deal.

The 33-year-old joins as a free agent on 1 July after turning down the offer of new terms at Burnley.

He was the Turf Moor club's player of the year as they won the Championship title to return to the Premier League.

"When I first found out there was an opportunity to come here, that got the blood pumping," Barton told the Rangers website.

"I'm fully aware of the situation the club has been in for the last few years but to be part of a group that is going to put this club back where it belongs was an opportunity, that if I didn't take, I would probably have regretted it for the rest of my life."

Barton, capped once for England, counts Manchester City, Newcastle and QPR among his former clubs.

He also played the 2012-13 season on loan in the French top flight with Marseille.

Barton scored three goals in 40 games for Burnley this season
Barton scored three goals in 40 games for Burnley this season

The experienced midfielder visited Glasgow last week.

"It was very simple. I came up, had a look around and was instantly impressed - both with what is happening at the club just now but also the history and tradition of the place," he explained.

"I went away with Rangers at the forefront of my mind, and I just knew I had to go and do it, and it was something I had to be a part of."

'Competitive animal'

Barton spent one successful season with Burnley and used Twitter to explain his decision to leave.

"Thanks to all the Burnley fans and everyone connected to the club," he wrote. "Amazing support this year that will live with me for a lifetime.

"Toughest decision of my professional life to leave an amazing set of people and a phenomenal culture behind.

"Club is in a great place on and off the pitch with great custodians at the helm. Thanks again for the opportunity to represent your club.

"I was presented with an opportunity and challenge the competitive animal in me just could not turn down. Onwards and upwards now."

Rangers will play in the Scottish Premiership next season after comfortably wrapping up the Championship title.

Mark Warburton's side also won the Petrofac Training Cup and lost a dramatic Scottish Cup final to Hibernian at the weekend.

Barton becomes Rangers' fourth summer signing, joining Josh Windass, Matt Crooks and Jordan Rossiter.

Analysis

BBC Scotland's Richard Wilson

"Barton has reinvented himself; in a shorthand way, he has gone from CCTV footage of fighting to being a guest on Question Time. So nobody ought to be surprised that on the verge of a return to the English Premier League, and all its riches and glamour, he has chosen to sign for Rangers.

"The offer of a two-year contract, as opposed to the shorter deal proposed by Burnley, would have helped, but Barton was genuine when he spoke of having already sampled life in the Premier League - particularly the slog of a relegation battle - and of seeking new experiences.

"At Rangers, he will hope to compete for trophies and be asked to be a figure of authority and know-how to help develop younger players."

'Barton challenge offers Rangers valuable asset'

Find all the latest football transfers on our dedicated page.

Top Stories