Joey Barton may yet have to return to Queens Park Rangers in the Championship next season because an agreement is apparently still no closer between Marseille and the relegated London club to make his loan move permanent.
The midfielder spent last season on loan at Stade Vélodrome, helping Elie Baup's side to a second-place finish and Champions League qualification, and aspires to remain in France particularly after his parent club slipped out of the Premier League.
However, Marseille have indicated they would be unable to take on Barton's wages of around £65,000 a week and would need him to halve those salary demands for any deal to be reached.
QPR, who are understood to be willing to allow the player to leave without a fee, paid half of his wages last season but are keen to shift him entirely from their books as they readjust financially to relegation. It remains to be seen whether Baup opts to pursue a deal which would eat significantly into his own budget for next season, effectively leaving all three parties in a state of limbo.
Barton, who is in Northern Ireland studying for his Uefa A licence as a coach, is under contract at Loftus Road until 2015. He confirmed last week that, if no deal is reached with Marseille this summer, he could return to France when his current contract expires, when he will be 32.
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