Barton: 'I want to stay at OM'
Just days ahead of Le Classique at the Parc des Princes, Joey Barton has declared his intention to stay on at OM despite the expiry of his loan move from Premier League club Queens Park Rangers at the end of the season.
When Joe Cole spent a season on loan with Lille, many Englishmen wondered why he would opt for a move to France, and French pundits, awed by the England international's decision to cross the channel, were continually asking him how long he would be staying.
Cole ended up returning to Liverpool at the end of his loan stint, and while Barton's move to OL has had its similarities with that of the former Chelsea man, this is where the parallel ends.
'Marseille believed in me'
"People often ask me this question about my future, and I want to stay," declared Barton, who is under contract with QPR until 2015. Since his arrival in the summer, Barton has been open about his love of OM, the city of Marseille and its people, and it seems that the former Newcastle midfielder's head has been turned.
"Marseille believed in me when no-one else did any more," he said, referring to the south-coast club's taking him on despite his bad-boy reputation and his having the better part of a 12-match ban for elbowing Manchester City's Carlos Tevez still to serve. "I want to repay this show of faith and I want to do it through my performances on the field."
Le Classique against Paris Saint-Germain on Sunday night - one of the biggest matches of the season as OM look to land what could be a season-changing blow against the title favourites at the Parc des Princes - will be the perfect occasion for Barton to put his words into practice.