Joey Barton heading to Marseille on loan. What's the French for 'Wasn't me ref'?
Robin van Persie’s move to Manchester United might be the biggest deal of the transfer window, but Joey Barton’s loan switch to Marseille is definitely the most unexpected.
Thanks to his own stupidity on the final day of last season – you may remember him lashing out at Carlos Tevez, kicking Sergio Aguero and farcically trying to headbutt Vincent Kompany – Barton copped a 12-game ban and subsequently put his QPR future in limbo.
Because he wouldn’t have been available until well into the new season, QPR and the player began to explore alternative options. One of those options was a potential loan move to League Two side Fleetwood Mac Town, a move that was blocked by the Football League who refused to sanction it while Barton’s ban remained in place.
With that move dead in the water, QPR seemed keen to rid their hands of Barton, temporarily at least, something which became clear when they neglected to give him a squad number for the new season, with new signing Ryan Nelsen being given Barton’s old number 17 shirt.
Barton wasn’t exactly thrilled with the news and as is his style, he took to Twitter to express his dissatisfaction with the club.
It was around this time that reports began to surface of a potential loan move to Ligue 1 side Marseille, who have yet to table an official bid for the 29-year old but are believed to have expressed an interest.
Barton added further fuel to the rumours by signing off with a little French message on his Twitter page last night and hard as it is to believe, it seems as if he could well be plying his trade with one of France’s biggest clubs next season.
Whether or not Barton can make a success of the move remains to be seen, but given his capacity to attract headlines for all sorts of reasons, we’ll probably hear as much of him in France as we would if he had stayed in England after all.