The Queens Park Rangers captain's future is in doubt.
The 32-year-old, the club captain and one of the west London side's most experienced heads, is out of contract this summer and Rangers are said to be harbouring doubts over what he can offer the Loftus Road outfit in the long term.
And the real question to ask is: how soon can Barton leave?
That may sound harsh, of course, as the QPR midfielder has become part and parcel of what one would associate with the R's.
Barton has now been with the west London club for some time and, as an outspoken footballer, often represents the side in walks of life far outside the field of play.
But what kind of a representative has Barton been in recent times? Not a game has gone by recently without the QPR captain getting booked. He was sent off last weekend for attempting to hit an opponent below the belt - and tried to justify it by quoting George Bernard Shaw on Twitter (how ludicrous?). His form, in general, has also been considerably below par.
And, perhaps a fact many forget, Barton is on a reported £75,000 a week.
Should QPR free those wages up in the summer, they could afford several players good enough for the Premier League (and even more for the Championship) - and you would expect them to manage staying on the pitch longer than Barton, too.
It was, in fact, the 32-year-old's team-mate who said it best: 'there are only so many times you can say sorry,' Charlie Austin said of the QPR skipper.
Too true - there is no place for someone so consistently irresponsible. And why not make the ever-reliable Austin QPR's new captain while the club are at it - giving their top scorer more of an incentive to stay?