Is France the Answer for Joey Barton?

I’ve never quite been sure of my opinion on Joey Barton. I want to hate him, but for some reason I also want to like him. He has long been the pantomime villain in the Premier League, and rightly so, but it appears he will soon be out of the league, and out of the country.
On Sunday night Joey took to Twitter, again, to voice his wishes to transfer out of QPR to Marseille. With a 12-match ban in this country, no shirt number at QPR, and a manager who he claims won’t play him, it seems that there is now no way back for him at QPR. There has been some debate as to where he will end up; first it was Fleetwood Town, where he spent a month training, and now it appears he is off to Marseille.
He says himself that he is “not the kind of player to sit on side-lines and take the cash.” Now this is finally something we can all respect him for (even if his current side-lining is his own fault). It is sad to see so many talents waste away on a substitutes bench, while happily taking bucket loads of cash. That’s not the game I love but it is sadly the reality, as money so often rules in the world of football. Whatever your opinion on him, seeing him express a desire to play, and not a desire for money, is refreshing.
He clearly has a real passion for the game. He just needs to find a way to keep that passion under control when he is on the pitch. For some reason part of me really wants to see him change, and prove people wrong, but sadly all he has done so far is prove many people right. For me, going abroad is his best option. Transferring to Marseille, or another foreign team, could be his chance to start again and prove he can play—and prove he can control himself. Moving to France may not mean starting with a clean slate, largely due to the Ousmane Dabo incident, but that slate will still be a lot cleaner than over here in England.
As I finish writing this, it has been announced that QPR are set to offer him a free transfer. The free transfer will no doubt change the situation, and may see more English clubs interested, but I still think going abroad is his best option. And from his Twitter posts last night, it appears he thinks that, too.
The deal to Marseille has been on and off, but now appears to be on again. This week we will find out if his body will join his “heart at the velodrome.”

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