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Barton close to agreeing new deal

Joey Barton's agent has claimed the player and Newcastle are "not a million miles apart" over terms for a new deal.

Barton has made no secret of his desire to remain at Newcastle, where he has breathed new life into his career with a string of impressive displays. Talks were thought to be at an advanced stage earlier in the season, but the two parties pulled away from the negotiations after failing to agree terms.

The failure to thrash out a new deal prompted speculation that Barton could be lured away from the club, but Magpies manager Alan Pardew has spoken of his determination to keep hold of the midfielder and it appears common ground has been found.

"Joey is happy at Newcastle and would be happy to talk," Barton's agent Willie McKay is quoted as saying in the Daily Mail. "We're not a million miles apart, it's about the length of the deal.

"He wants to get back into the England squad and believes he can do that with Newcastle but his form has attracted a lot of interest."

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