Notts County are heading in the right direction under Kevin Nolan and are one of the teams competing for promotion at the top of League Two.
That would represent a great season for the Magpies and it appears that their manager has the ambition to push them on further over the coming years.
The former Premier League player is keen to use his connections to bring in some quality and experience, with Joey Barton being one of the names linked.
The two men played together at Newcastle United and were part of the team that won promotion back to the Premier League in 2010.
In a recent interview with BBC Radio Nottingham, Nolan said the following when asked about Barton:
“Me and Joey are good friends. He is a top player, a top lad and I really get on well with him. We will always be in touch so let’s see what happens.”
“Joey is probably going to want to play at a higher level. And if that doesn’t come to fruition then I am sure there will be a conversation in the summer.
Although Nolan admits that he is unlikely to land his former team-mate, it shows his value to Notts County in the transfer market.
His presence at the club makes it possible to target quality players that have played at the top of the English game.
Since he arrived at Meadow Lane, he has used his Newcastle connections to sign Shola Ameobi and the striker has been a good player for the club
However, it would be an even bigger coup to land Barton, who was last seen playing in the Premier League for Burnley last season.
A lengthy ban from football due to gambling meant that the midfielder hasn’t been able to play this season, but at the age of 35, he still has something to offer the game.
Before his ban, he was a key player for Burnley and played 14 times in the Premier League after re-joining the club in January 2017.
It was a huge shame for Barton that he received a ban, as he was beginning to thrive at the highest level again.
The time away from football will have an effect on him, but he will be determined to finish his eventful career on a high.
It would be somewhat interesting if Barton did sign for Notts County this summer, as he came close to joining their local rivals a few years ago.
Reports in the Mirror, in 2015, suggested the midfielder wanted to join Nottingham Forest after he left Queens Park Rangers, but a move didn’t come to fruition.
Now, he could be offered the opportunity to play in the city, albeit for the side lower down the Football League.
At the time of writing, Notts County are in the play-off positions in League Two and they have a good chance of winning promotion this season.
Their chances of signing Barton will increase if they do go up a division, but his relationship with Nolan means they will be in the races regardless of promotion.
It could be that Barton is motivated by a project rather than money or exposure and the opportunity to join Notts County could be an appealing one.
He would get the opportunity to work with one of his good friends in the game and his ability would allow him to stand out at that level.
Supporters shouldn’t be getting excited about the rumoured signing yet, as it is only speculation at this point, but it is encouraging that Nolan has declared his interest on the record.
Barton may be a controversial figure, but he has won promotion on three occasions during his career and his experience would be invaluable to an ambitious club like Notts County.
If they manage to get this done, it would be one of the eye-catching transfers of the summer.