Barton keen for Marseille stay
Joey Barton has told French TV that he has met with Marseille officials to discuss his future and reiterated his desire to stay on the French coast rather than return to relegated Queens Park Rangers.
Barton, 30, joined the Ligue 1 outfit on a season-long loan last summer, and after serving his 12-match Football Association-imposed ban, was initially a hit at the Stade Velodrome.
The midfielder has recently lost his place in the Marseille side, however, but told TF1 he still sees his future - both short and long-term - at the club.
"I want to stay, but unfortunately it's not only up to me. I belong to another club," Barton, who has two years left on his QPR deal, said. "I had a discussion with the OM board last week, and I could well extend my stay here. Everyone knows just how much I want to stay here and be part of this club in the future. If I had it my way, I will finish my career at OM."
L'Equipe reported on Monday that QPR owner Tony Fernandes has told Barton he wants him to return to London to help the club cope with the rigours of the highly-physical Championship next season.
Further stumbling blocks are Marseille’s reported unwillingness to hand over a transfer fee and their inability to pay any more than the €120,000-a-month in wages they currently spend, with the remainder of Barton's monthly salary of €332,000 made up by QPR.
"We wouldn't be against the idea of keeping Joey Barton at OM, but we're not at all in a position to dictate the pace,” Labrune said. “He belongs to QPR. He's on loan without a purchase option, so we don't have any say in the matter. In any case, there is no such agreement as Joey Barton has suggested."