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Hughes: Marseille in Barton approach

QPR manager Mark Hughes has confirmed that Marseille have made an initial approach to take midfielder Joey Barton on loan.

Barton, 29, must serve a 12-match ban at the start of this season, and had been linked with a loan move to a Football League club.

On Thursday, Sky Sports claimed Barton, who has lost his squad number at QPR, is due to spend the season in Ligue 1. Marseille refused to confirm or deny the report, but Hughes said: "There has been interest shown by them, but there has been no offer made. There have been a few emails sent back and forth, but there is nothing concrete yet."

The Loftus Road boss indicated that, if not Marseille, Barton was more than likely to go on loan somewhere, adding: "I have had discussions on a number of occasions with Joey, and the fact is he is not available for 12 games at the beginning of the season."

He said Rangers were attempting to "look for a good option for Joey and ourselves", adding: "There are a number of options Joey didn't think were right for him and others that we thought weren't right for us as a club.

"We hope there might be an opportunity for him to go to another club on loan. That has not developed as yet, but may well do in the next few days."

Earlier on Friday, Marseille coach Elie Baup refused to discuss reports that Barton was poised to join the club.

"I have no comment to make," he said. "It's a collective decision involving the officials at the club and [sporting director Jose Anigo] in terms of making a decision about which players we need. I'm not going to make a remark about an individual."

Baup also joked about Barton's problems with the law, having been put in custody himself last February as part of an investigation into unemployment benefits. "Being kept in custody is something that can happen to the best of us," he said.

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