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The Toe Poke

QPR give Barton's squad number away

QPR have given the clearest indication yet that Joey Barton does not have a future at the club after choosing not to award him a squad number for the new season.

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Barton was a high-profile omission from the west London club's list of squad numbers when they were announced on Thursday - with his old number, 17, being handed to summer signing Ryan Nelsen.

"Heard my shirt number's gone to someone else. News to me," Barton said on Twitter. "Just come off the golf course so only just heard. A call would have been nice. Ah, well life goes on."

Barton must serve a 12-match ban to start the new season, after getting involved in an unseemly fracas in the final game of last season against Manchester City. As a result of the incident, the one-time England international was also stripped of the club captaincy amid reports that the club would try to sell the controversial figure.

Barton has been training with Fleetwood Town prior to the new season, with speculation emerging that he would sign a loan deal with the League Two club. However, the Football League confirmed it would block any such move - leaving the 29-year-old's future in doubt.

Later on Thursday evening it was reported that Barton could be heading to Ligue 1 side Marseille on a year-long deal, with Stephane Mbia heading in the opposite direction.


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