• Ligue 1

Barton wants Marseille stay, not QPR return

ESPN staff
December 1, 2012
Joey Barton was sent off on the final day of last season © Getty Images

Joey Barton believes he will not return to Queens Park Rangers if they are relegated, while he has also opened talks about extending his stay at Marseille.

Barton, 30, is currently on loan at the French club until the end of the season, when he will be due to return to west London.

But the midfielder feels he is more likely to be playing his football at Stade Velodrome than Loftus Road next season.

"For me to be part of the side that stayed up and not be part of the side that went down, it would be difficult for me to go back," Barton said. "I haven't closed my mind to it although I would really like to stay here.

"I'm in a good space mentally. I've held preliminary talks with Marseille about extending my stay here. They have asked me whether I would stay beyond the loan period.

"The likelihood is, unless there is a massive turnaround in fortunes, QPR will be in the Championship next season. What it seems to me as a neutral - and I am in France, no matter that I am contracted - is that they have got a big case of a lot of good individuals, a lot of good quality individuals, but not a good team."

Barton, who still has two years left on his QPR contract, moved to Marseille after being banned for 12 matches by the Football Association for his violent conduct against Manchester City on the final day of last season.

"It didn't end in great circumstances in west London for me," Barton said. "I know there has been a change in terms of the management structure, but something like that, and what goes on around that, lives with you beyond a managerial change."

That managerial change has seen Harry Redknapp come in to replace the sacked Mark Hughes and Barton believes that Redknapp has the experience to give the club a fighting chance of staying up.

"Harry Redknapp's record speaks for itself," he said. "This time last year he was being talked about as the only successor to Fabio Capello. He has always done well with players and always got players on board. He is a really good man-manager.

"If anyone can pull the players together, a manager of Redknapp's calibre is capable of that. They are in with a good chance now with Harry there."

QPR are currently bottom of the Premier League table, eight points adrift of safety, having still yet to record a win this season.

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