JOEY Barton has described Sean Dyche as "the most impressive guy I've sat in front of for a long, long time", after becoming Burnley's seventh summer signing last night.

The 32-year-old put pen to paper on a one-year deal as a free agent following his release from relegated Queens Park Rangers at the end of last season.


Barton was expected to remain in the Premier League, and was close to joining West Ham United earlier this month.

But a midweek lunch, cooked by Dyche, swung the midfielder's decision in Burnley's favour over the other options open to him.

"We spoke a number of weeks ago and I knew instantly that Sean was someone I liked," Barton explained.

"I’ve watched Burnley for a number of years, most recently because we’ve been in direct competition with each other.

"I’ve admired the job that Sean has done here and, as a football club, how they have presented themselves, but also as a fantastic group of players.

"I was holding out for a Premier League opportunity because that is the greatest league in the world and I got far down the line with a Premier League team, but the minute that didn’t go in the right direction I spoke again to the manager.

"We met again yesterday (Wednesday) and he cooked me lunch and spoke about football.

"It was the first time we’d sat and spoken face to face at length and I walked out of the house, got on the phone and said I want to play for this guy and Burnley.

"It was as straightforward as that. He is the most impressive guy I have sat in front of for a long, long period of time."

Dyche says a mutual respect was key to Barton becoming a Burnley player.

"I'm delighted that we have Joey on board. He was very respectful when speaking about our club at the end of last season," said the Clarets boss.

"We had many conversations and he made it clear he was very interested in what we were about and that coming here is something he would consider."

Barton has been a controversial figure throughout a career that start with Manchester City and resulted in moves to Newcastle and QPR.

On his last Championship visit to Turf Moor he was hit on the head by a Coke bottle thrown from the stands. But Dyche believes he is the right character for the Burnley dressing room.

“It’s something that we’ve spoken about and something I’ve thought about; different circumstances, different fit, different types, what makes a team tick. That’s part of it," said the Burnley boss.

“I’ve had that chat with him a couple of times. We’re both open minded about the situation.

“I was chatting to someone about him and they said ‘how would you handle him’. I said ‘I wouldn’t handle him, he’s 32 he’s not 18, he’s not a kid’, I’d just advise him in what I think is appropriate, and that’s the way I see someone like him.

“He’s bright enough and rounded enough with the ups, downs, ins and outs of football, and he’s a very good player.

“That’s why he has got suitors and he was quite strong on being suited to us so we said we’d have some conversations over the summer and that’s what we have done.

“There’s a strong desire for him to work with myself and what we do here. He’s well aware of that from the outside and he’s spoken through the media what he’s thought about the club and how we’ve gone about it and how we attempted to remain in the Premier League and how we got to the Premier League.

“He’s always been very positive.

“At the end of the season when he was out of contract there was a conversation and he made it clear he respected what we’d done here and would be interested in that.

“Really it’s just been ongoing conversations.

“Joey’s someone I’ve spoken to for eight weeks. “It (has built) very quickly, that’s the way this business works."

Barton has signed in time to be eligible for tomorrow's game at Bristol City, but having not kicked a competitive ball since May there my be question marks over his fitness,

“I’m sure there would be work to be done, but I think everyone would know that fitness has certainly not been an issue down his career, as in covering a distance, working hard, that sort of thing," said Dyche.

“People obviously look at all the rest of his life, but if you look at his stats and how he’s played and who he’s played for and the level he’s played at, he certainly knows how the business works on the pitch, that’s for sure."