Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has admitted he knew there was going to be a problem with Joey Barton's contractual situation.
The 28-year-old's agent, Willie McKay, headed for Tyneside this week to resume negotiations which were put on hold in January, only to discover there was no longer a deal on the table. As it stands, Barton will leave the club for free next summer, and that would come as a huge blow to a manager who had made his retention a key priority.
Pardew told the Journal: "I spoke to Joey on the last day (of the season) and I think we were both resigned that this contract was going to be a problem. Both of us are thinking next year we will be together and we will go on from there."
He added: "Unless it changes over the summer and there's a bid in that the board, myself and Joey feel works for Joey, I think he will be here for the start of the season. The thing about contracts is, times change.
"I'm not upset about it. I was more upset when we thought we had agreed and there was a change of heart. I knew it would be a problem to come back from that.
"There was a lot of history between Joey and the board before I arrived. I just wanted to be honest with Joey and match him with clarity. That's what I have done.
"I've been open and up front with him - I made him the captain (in Kevin Nolan's absence).
"We decided the best way was probably to wait for the season to end. Joey pulled all the way through and he will pull next year, even if he's in his last year; I know he will."
Barton was understood to be close to agreeing a deal at the turn of the year, but Andy Carroll's departure for Liverpool prompted him to consider his options once again.
The former Manchester City midfielder has indicated that he will see out his existing deal even if the Magpies try to cash in on him this summer with Liverpool, Everton and Aston Villa among those clubs to have been linked with him.