Barton set for Marseille loan

Controversial midfielder to spend season in Ligue 1

Joey Barton: Heading to Ligue 1 with Marseille from QPR

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Sky Sports understands QPR midfielder Joey Barton is set to join Ligue 1 side Marseille on a season-long loan deal, with Stephane Mbia moving in the opposite direction.

Doubt over whether Barton has a future at Loftus Road was fuelled earlier on Thursday when his old number 17 shirt was given to summer signing Ryan Nelsen.

The midfielder must serve a 12-game ban to start the season after his red card and violent conduct in the final match of the last campaign against former club Manchester City.

It now appears the 29-year-old, who was also stripped of QPR's captaincy over the summer and previously trained with League Two Fleetwood Town, will spend the season in France.

It will mark the first time the once-capped England international, formerly of City and Newcastle, has plied his trade at an overseas club.

Barton perhaps teasingly wished his Twitter followers "Bonne nuit" - French for "good night" - on Thursday evening.

Mbia, who can play at centre-back and in midfield, is poised to move the other way on a season-long loan in West London.

The 26-year-old Cameroon international joined Marseille from Rennes in 2009 and made 15 Ligue 1 appearances last season.