Marseille could sign Joey Barton for less than his monthly wage if they take up the purchase option in his loan deal from Queens Park Rangers, it has been reported.
Barton, 30, was loaned to the Ligue 1 club last summer after being handed a 12-match ban for violent conduct after his sending off, and reaction to it, against Manchester City on the final day of last season.
Although the FA ban delayed his Ligue 1 debut until November, he has quickly become a first-team regular at the Stade Velodrome.
Le Parisien said the terms of his loan deal from Rangers meant a full move could be made for £220,000, with the option needing to be taken up before midnight on 31 May. That sum is around £120,000 less than Barton's monthly wage at QPR, the paper said.
Although he is under contract at Loftus Road until 2015, Barton appears unlikely to return to Rangers – although that does not necessarily mean he will become a permanent OM player.
Marseille president Vincent Labrune, reported to have held talks with Rangers chiefs last week, said: "We're completely satisfied with Joey," but the midfielder’s wages could be a stumbling block.
Barton has taken a significant pay cut to join OM, but recently told Le Parisien: "I've had the chance to earn a lot of money in ten years in the Premier League. At this stage of my career, I don't care about the money."
The midfielder said he has revelled in his switch to the Mediterranean coast and loves the fervour of the club's fans.
"When you're born in Marseille, I don't think you have any other choice than to be an OM supporter. It starts with the family. OM is in people's blood," he told the club’s official website.
His all-action displays have already made him very popular with fans, and he endeared himself further by criticising “supporters” who have associated themselves with the recent success and status of Paris Saint-Germain.
"I saw PSG's game against Ajaccio," he said. "Ten minutes from the end, everyone was leaving, just because they weren't winning five or six-nil.
“That's not a fan who does that, just someone who's paid to watch the match. It's different. A supporter stays right to the end."