May 25 2013 Latest news:
Ian Cooper, QPR correspondent
Saturday, August 18, 2012
Rangers boss speaks out on controversial midfielder Barton
Mark Hughes admits that Joey Barton could have a long-term future at QPR, despite backing the disgraced midfielder’s proposed loan move to Marseille.
Hughes confirmed that Rangers have been in touch with the Ligue 1 club over a potential season-long loan deal for Barton, who is serving a 12-match ban for his actions at Manchester City on the final day of last season.
That deal is expected to see Cameroon midfielder Stephane Mbia heading in the opposite direction, although Hughes insisted that the two clubs were “nowhere near” finalising such an agreement.
Barton spent his pre-season training with League Two outfit Fleetwood Town, and was not given a squad number by Hughes.
However, the manager is not ruling out the possibility of the 29-year-old remaining with the club after this season.
“There has been communication and interest shown, but there’s been no communication in regard of financial options or swapping players. We’re nowhere near that stage,” said Hughes.
“I think that would be a good option for Joey; there have been decent options put to him before but he didn’t feel that they were right for him. This one makes sense for him and certainly for us.
“I explained to Joey that he wasn’t going to be in my 25 so he needed to look at his options. He could come back here and train, but he wouldn’t be training with the full squad so it would be better for him if he found a loan situation. If this one does progress it would be the right option for everybody.”
When asked if Barton’s future could yet lie at QPR, Hughes replied: “He has got a three year contract so there is that possibility.”
On Friday, Marseille appeared to dismiss any notion of a deal involving Barton and Mbia.
A spokesman said: “A swap deal involving these two players is absolutely not envisaged.”
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