Joey Barton, the Newcastle United midfielder, reacted angrily yesterday to news that Kevin Nolan, the club captain and last season's top scorer, is to be sold to relegated West Ham United. But then reiterated his desire to stay at the club.
Barton, himself subject to transfer speculation after his agent, Willie McKay, revealed this week that Newcastle will not offer the player an improved contract, used the social networking site Twitter to vent his frustration when he heard the news that Nolan was having a medical in London.
Newcastle last week rejected a West Ham offer described as "derisory". But the Hammers' pursuit of the 28-year-old Nolan, who has two years remaining on his existing deal, has taken a step forward.
Barton expressed his surprise, writing: "Just on my way to Ascot, feel sick."
He added: "Great player, leader, captain, person, trainer and mostly a friend for life. Devastated to see him SOLD", before adding the hashtag "#mejoseandjonasnext", suggesting he, the left-back Jose Enrique and the winger Jonas Gutierrez could follow Nolan out of the club.
Later, at Royal Ascot, and talking to Sky Sports, Barton said: "I have got no ambitions to leave the football club, I don't want to leave the football club."
"Me and Kevin will remain great friends beyond the boundaries of football for the rest of our lives, most probably, just with the experiences we have shared at the football club," he added.
"Hopefully, the move breaks down, but if it doesn't, you have got to believe in the process of the football club, and no one player is bigger than the football club."
Elsewhere, Cesc Fabregas, the Arsenal captain, has not made a decision about a move to Barcelona and says he is happy at the London club.
"I am an Arsenal player. I have been very happy for eight years and I am very happy," Fabregas said at a promotional event, when asked about the prospect of a return to Barcelona.
"I am not thinking about football right now, just about my holidays," said the Spain international, 24, adding that questions about his future should be directed to Arsene Wenger, the Arsenal manager, to whom he had not spoken for six weeks.
"There have been no decisions. The truth is that it doesn't always depend on the player and at the moment I don't know anything," he said. "I am very happy where I am. Anything else would be speculation that is untrue. You can never say never in this life as so many things happen that you can never predict."
The National reported on Sunday that Barcelona will have around £34 million (Dh204m) available to secure Fabregas's services.
The player, who moved from Barcelona to London in 2003 at the age of 16, is seen as a natural replacement for Xavi, the Barca playmaker who turned 31 in January.
Fabregas admitted he was frustrated at Arsenal's repeated failure to win a trophy but said he believed the club had the resources to end their barren run.
"A player who is not frustrated at not winning titles is either lying to himself or lacks ambition," he said.
"There is a good team and a good manager and one of the most faithful fan bases in Europe. With those I believe we can make progress and one day win an important trophy."