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Sunday 4 December 2016

Former QPR star Joey Barton in talks with Hammers

Barton is currently a free agent after being released by relegated QPR
Barton is currently a free agent after being released by relegated QPR

West Ham are in talks to sign former QPR midfielder Joey Barton.

Barton, a free agent following his release from the relegated Hoops, has been targeted to increase manager Slaven Bilic's options in midfield.

West Ham began their Premier League season with a surprise 2-0 victory at Arsenal on Sunday, when 16-year-old defensive midfielder Reece Oxford made his debut.

Oxford was among the Hammers' most impressive players but as recently as Thursday Bilic's lack of strength in depth was highlighted when the defeat of a weakened team selected away at Romania's Astra Giurgiu ended their Europa League campaign.

An ankle injury to one of last season's loanees, Alex Song, has so far prevented him from returning to the club on a permanent basis.

Should Barton agree personal terms to join West Ham he will be reunited with Kevin Nolan and Andy Carroll, his former Newcastle team-mates.

Barton and Carroll, notably, produced the finest form of their careers while playing together.

The 32-year-old midfielder watched Aston Villa's 1-0 victory at Bournemouth on Saturday, and said: "Judging by this game it won't be long before I get a phone call from somebody (to sign for them).

"The best player might be sitting in the stands this afternoon, even if I do say so myself."

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