Joey Barton Special: Will he still be at QPR next season?

With the controversial midfielder facing severe punishment following his red card on the final day of the season, Phil Kitromilides looks at his chances of staying at Loftus Road
As pugnacious and enigmatic as ever, Joey Barton has once again courted controversy throughout
what has been a turbulent season.

It ended for him in perhaps the most predictable of ways - restrained and dragged off the pitch at the Etihad Stadium having earned his second red card of the season for an inexcusable elbow on Carlos Tevez.

His subsequent wild kick at Sergio Aguero having been sent off could yet see Barton receive an extended ban of up to nine matches and Queens Park Rangers may re-evaluate the wisdom of keeping their club captain at Loftus Road. Sportingbet price Barton at 1/2 (1.50) not to be a QPR player next season.

In the 2010-11 season Barton was exceptional for Newcastle, flourishing in a slightly wider role and earning the move to west London which made him the highest paid player in the history of Queens Park Rangers.

Yet this season, Barton has under performed with too often his bizarre Twitter tirades receiving more coverage than his performances on the pitch. He's now 7/5 (2.40) to stay at the club after the summer.

With the Rs only narrowing avoiding relegation the board will be reassesing the squad for next season, and there is a chance that the Nietzche-quoting, Smiths-loving Barton may be deemed surplus to requirements.

The problem would be where would he go and which club would be willing to take him, not only because of his chequered past but also his salary reported to be in the region of £80,000 a week.

For those reasons Sportingbet make Barton odds on to still be at QPR on the first day of the 2012-13 season, with the price of 1/2 (1.50) potentially tempting given there are unlikely to be any suitors.

A transfer away from Loftus Road is priced at 7/5 (2.40) although with a character as volatile as Barton, predicting his next move is always going to be a challenge.

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Phil Kitromilides is a sports broadcaster working on radio and TV in London and Madrid, you can also follow Phil on Twitter.