Joey Barton details Bristol Rovers attempt to sign Stoke defender and reveals transfer bid

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The Gas were unsuccessful in their bid for the Stoke City defender

Joey Barton has revealed that Bristol Rovers made an attempt to re-sign Connor Taylor on a permanent deal from Stoke City in the January transfer window.

Taylor was an integral part of last season’s promotion-winning side and a reunion had been in discussion in the summer. The 21-year-old was kept in the Midlands by Michael O’Neill and offered a new long-term contract, but circumstances changed for the Gas promotion hero.

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O’Neill was sacked in August and later replaced by Sunderland boss Alex Neil, which saw him drop out of the side after featuring in the first few games of the Championship season. He played in the FA Cup against Hartlepool and Stevenage, but has not played in the Championship since September.

Taylor’s been an unused substitute in the last nine league matches, and with his lack of playing time, Rovers tabled an offer for him to return to the Memorial Stadium.

A move however would not take place as Stoke parted ways to World Cup defender Harry Souttar to Leicester City, as well as moving on Aden Flint to Derby County. Manchester United defender Axel Tuanzebe was brought in, and Taylor has been kept around as cover.

“We made a couple of offers,” said Joey Barton in his chat on BBC Radio Bristol with former Bristol Rovers defender Geoff Twentyman on Having a Gas.

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“We felt we could get big Connor out of Stoke but obviously they were trying to move Aden Flint on and Harry Souttar was bubbling away.

“We thought if we made an offer they’d see how serious we were about it. They didn’t want to sell him and that is tricky because you are done pretty much. There is no amount of money we can offer Stoke that is ever go and turn their eye in to selling a prospect of theirs but we had to be active in the market.”

Rovers’ offer for Taylor was one that would have involved a fee, and that is a sign that Barton is backed by owner Wael al-Qadi. The ownership has fully supported Barton during his tenure, and most of the targets he has sought, he has managed to sign.

The transfer record paid for by the club remains at just over £350,000 for Andy Tillson back in the 1990’s and that could have been broken. Rovers’ budget for the season is at £3m and had they met Stoke’s valuation or tempted them with another offer, it could have affected plans for next season.

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He added: “We haven’t got an abundance of money to splash round, we’ve got to do it in a sustainable manner. I don’t want to get the owner to chip loads of money in that won’t sustain the football club in the medium and long term. Because very quickly you’ll find yourself out of this division again and it won’t allow us to consolidate the game the gains we have made.

“The club is in such a different spot. It’s got a solid foundation to work at, just because we’ve got an outside chance of promotion here, you go and blow the summer budget out of it, I think it’d be stupid of me to do so. I’m only a custodian of the club andI have to look after the wellbeing of the football club.”

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