- Premier League
Marseille deny Barton deal claims
Marseille have distanced themselves from Joey Barton's claims that a deal is in place for the on-loan QPR midfielder to extend his stay at the Ligue 1 side.
Barton tweeted that he did not expect to return to Loftus Road next season, particularly if the relegation-threatened side did drop out of the Premier League.
"Some strange people think that I'll be playing in the Championship next season?? Good one! QPR might, I won't! #fact," he wrote.
"It's not up to QPR if I stay. Agreement already in place for me to stay here. Can't see QPR wanting me on the wage bill in the Champ."
But while Marseille president Vincent Labrune admitted he was keen to retain the midfielder beyond his current spell, he denied that any such deal was in place.
"We would not be against the idea of keeping Joey Barton at OM but he belongs to QPR," Laubrune told eurosport.fr. "There is no agreement as suggested by Joey Barton."
Barton joined Marseille in August while serving a 12-match ban for his actions in the final game of the 2011-12 season against former club Manchester City.
"My QPR career was over when they decided to listen to the footballing sage, Mark of Hughes..." Barton tweeted.
"I'm loving life in France. Loving Marseille. They love me. All I want to do is give everything for this football club. They backed me when nobody else did, for that I will be eternally grateful. This club is now in my blood, its [sic] impossible to get it out #ForzaOM."
The former Newcastle midfielder has settled into life in the south of France, both on and off the pitch, but QPR chairman Tony Fernandes soon reminded Barton that any decision about his future must be made in conjunction with the west London club.
"I really hope they stay up," Barton tweeted about QPR. "I have all season. Stay up/go down. Harry stays/goes. I don't want to be part of it. Marseille is my home now."
Fernandes also took to Twitter to send out a pointed message.
"For the record QPR players under contract cannot decide where they play. They are under CONTRACT," Fernandes tweeted.