London: French Ligue 1 club Marseille have firmly denied suggestions that Queen's Park Rangers midfielder Joey Barton could be set for a season-long loan move to the club in exchange for Cameroonian midfielder Stephane Mbia.
"A swap deal involving these two players is absolutely not envisaged," an OM official told AFP on Friday after the story was broken by UK television station Sky Sports News.
Earlier, Marseille coach Elie Baup said he "no comment to make" on any possible switch but asked about Barton's turbulent past off the pitch -- he was jailed for six months in 2008 for affray -- he said: "Custody? That can happen to the best of us!"
Earlier this year, Baup and his partner were charged with fraudulently claiming unemployment benefit after his departure from Nantes in 2009.
Barton's future has been the subject of much debate after the 29-year-old was stripped of the captaincy and given a 12-match ban for his red card and subsequent conduct on the final day of last season against Manchester City.
He spent pre-season training with fourth-tier Fleetwood Town in northwest England but would not be able to join the League Two newboys on loan as it is understood the Football League would refuse to register him while his ban remains.
However, his ban would not stop him from playing abroad.
QPR on Thursday failed to issue Barton with a squad number for the new season.
Barton's number was given to summer signing Ryan Nelsen, and the midfielder posted on Twitter: "Heard my shirt numbers gone to someone else. News to me..."
"Just come off the golf course so only just heard. A call would have been nice. Ah, well life goes on..."
Barton signed off with a tweet "Bonne nuit" -- French for "good night" -- on the micro-blogging site on Thursday.
Marseille are keen to offload the 26-year-old Mbia, who is one of their highest earners, and the player is keen on a move to England.