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Marseille could yet strike Barton deal

Marseille expect to sign at least one more player before the  transfer window shuts - and it could still be Joey Barton.

Barton has maintained his penchant for courting controversy since moving to France
Marseille have not ruled out the possibility of a full-time Barton deal.

Barton, 30, spent last season on loan at the Ligue 1 runners-up from Queens Park Rangers, but a permanent deal has so far been elusive.

However, Marseille president Vincent Labrune said the recent arrival of another central midfielder, Gianelli Imbula, did not mean Barton would not return to the south of France.

“No, the two are completely unconnected,” he told reporters at a press conference on Tuesday. “We like Joey, and we made him an offer in May so that he might prolong his adventure with us.

“Once we said that, we’re no longer in control. He belongs to another club, QPR, and we can’t speak for a player who belongs to another club.”

Labrune was speaking as Marseille officially unveiled Imbula as their third signing of the summer, with the Belgian moving from newly-promoted Guingamp for a reported €7.5 million.

After signing Imbula, attacker Dimitri Payet and defender Benjamin Mendy, Labrune is hopeful of sealing at least one more deal before the window closes on September 2.

“We’re at the halfway point of the transfer window,” he added. “We had two objectives at the start - first of all, to keep our key players, who were most in demand, which we did with Mandanda and Nkoulou.

“The second wish was to bring in some youth and talent. Now we’re going to look into one or two players who could have an inclination to leave and, according to that, we’ll see how we can continue to strengthen our team.

“In all likelihood, there will be another arrival between now and the close of the transfer window, but I can’t say when.”

Marseille have been linked with Lille’s attacking midfielder Florian Thauvin and Romain Alessandrini of Rennes - but several teams are thought to be weighing up a move for Andre-Pierre Gignac, their top scorer last season.  

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