Ligue 1 Conforama

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Barton becoming 'a leader' at OM

Ligue 1 Conforama

Olympique de Marseille sporting director José Anigo said English midfielder Joey Barton is becoming a leader in the squad and spoke about Loïc Rémy's future.

Anigo, speaking to L'Equipe newspaper, said of Barton: "I'm not surprised at his integration. He had been described as half man/half animal. The opposite is true. He's funny, intelligent, loves winning, loves combat.

Anigo: "Maybe he's at last found the club of his life"

"He's dragging our team upwards with his competitive spirit. He's in the process of becoming a leader in the squad and is very happy here. Maybe he's at last found the club of his life."

Barton is on a season-long loan from Queens Park Rangers of the English Premier League but Anigo would love the 30-year-old to extend his stay on the south coast. Amigo said: "First of all he'll have to have the desire to stay. It will be done in an intelligent way. We've got a very good relationship with his club QPR."

OM have signed Foued Kadir from Valenciennes and Brice Samba from Le Havre this transfer window and Anigo says the only possible departure will be French international forward Rémy. "If a big club comes in for him and he's interested then we'll see at that point in time. For the moment nobody is leaving. Rémy's succession of injuries have undermined him, as did missing the Euro through injury. But I think he's come back to his level and I see that in training.

"If Rémy goes then we'll sign a wide player"

"He's got his confidence back. I've rediscovered the good Loïc with his head held high. If he does stay then he'll be able to add something for us. If he goes then we will sign a wide player. In the middle, with André-Pierre Gignac and Jordan Ayew, we are armed."

Marseille begin their French Cup campaign at the Round of 64 stage at home to Guingamp, fifth in Ligue 2, on Sunday afternoon. Rémy, linked in the French press to Newcastle United and QPR in England as well as German clubs Schalke and Borussia Dortmund, is set to feature on the left as André Ayew is injured and then will be off to the Africa Cup of Nations with Ghana.

>> PLAYER PROFILE: Joey Barton


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