Queens Park Rangers manager Mark Hughes said Friday that a loan move remains on the cards for Joey Barton.
The former QPR captain faces a 12-match ban at the start of the forthcoming campaign following his red card and subsequent violent conduct at Manchester City on the last day of last season.
Since the incident at the Etihad Stadium Barton's future at QPR has been unclear. When asked if Barton was likely to be loaned to another club, Hughes said: "Yes I think so. 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."
One club heavily linked with Barton, who was left out of Hughes' 25-man Premier League squad and was not issued a shirt number, is Ligue 1 side Marseille, and the ex-Blackburn boss confirmed they had made an initial approach.
"There has been interest shown by them but there has been no offer made and there has been a few emails sent back and forth but nothing concrete yet," he said.
Barton, 29, trained with League Two side Fleetwood during the preseason and there was speculation he could move there on loan, serving his prolonged suspension over a shorter period.
But Hughes refuted that idea and confirmed the club is awaiting an offer that is deemed suitable by themselves and Barton.
"I think there has been a lot of talk that we were trying to look at options to circumvent his loan which is completely false, we never tried to do that," he said.
"Basically we were trying to look for a good option for Joey and ourselves. 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, so we hope there might be an opportunity for him to go to another club on loan but that has not developed as yet but may well do in the next few days."
Marseille head coach Elie Baup was asked about Barton at his news conference Friday.
"I have no comments to make," Baup said, according to Marseille's official website. "There is a collective operation with club directors and (sporting director) Jose (Anigo) to make a decision concerning the players that we need. I'm not going to make an exception about an individual."