Poll of the Day: Where will Joey Barton be at the start of next season?

The midfielder has been handed a 12-match ban for his behaviour in the last game of the Premier League season against Manchester City, throwing his QPR future into doubt

Where next for Joey Barton?

The one-time England midfielder's future as captain of QPR was thrown into further doubt on Wednesday when he was handed a mammoth 12-game suspension for his actions at the Etihad Stadium on the final day of the Premier League season.

Having already been shown a red card for elbowing Carlos Tevez, Barton proceeded to knee Sergio Aguero and aim a headbutt in the direction of Vincent Kompany in an attempt, as he later explained on Twitter, to provoke a City player into the sort of behaviour that would see them follow him down the tunnel.

If there is one thing QPR manager Mark Hughes will prioritise this summer, it will be improving the discipline of his squad. Barton's antics could have cost the club their Premier League status had Bolton Wanderers capitalised while Djibril Cisse saw red twice after arriving in London at the end of the January transfer window.

Cisse scored in every single one of the other six games he played and that record will prove more than enough to earn him a reprieve and a prominent role at Loftus Road next season.

Hughes must be mulling over whether Barton, however, is worth the trouble. Newcastle United have rocketed up the league table having dispensed with the 29-year-old and have not missed his volatility.

The problem could be finding the midfielder a new home. The already brief list of Premier League clubs that might be willing to take a chance on Barton will have likely shortened following the news of his suspension while his large wages could prove a stumbling block for teams outside of the top tier.

Perhaps a club outside of England is the next stop in the Merseyside-born player's career. Abroad, he would not have to convince clubs to take him on despite his lengthy ban, which only applies to English football.

Or maybe he will have had enough. Barton's retirement would come as a shock, of course, but he will turn 30 in September and has plenty of other interests he could pursue outside of the game.


What do you think? Will Barton be handed another chance to lead QPR when he returns from his ban? Or will he be ditched by Hughes but handed a reprieve by another Premier League club? Could he drop down a division to rebuild his career? Is a move abroad, in order to avoid his suspension, most likely? Or will he call it a day altogether?

Let us know your thoughts by voting in the poll, leaving your comments below or getting in touch via Twitter or Facebook.