Marseille striker Andre-Pierre Gignac says he would like English midfielder Joey Barton to stay at the Ligue 1 club.
Barton spent this season on loan with Marseille but his future remains unclear as he continues to negotiate with his parent-club Queens Park Rangers, who want the 30-year-old midfielder to return to England for their 2013/14 campaign in the English Championship.
Having played 32 matches for Marseille in all competitions, Barton would like to make a permanent move to the southern French club and Gignac reckons the midfielder would be welcome to stay.
“Joey brings his mindset, his fighting spirit, he is a player who contributed to the team,” Gignac said.
“You guys (the media) like him too.
“He communicates well and he is a good player.
“If he can stay, that’s no problem.”
Gignac, who joined Marseille from Toulouse at the start of the 2010/11 season, has had his best campaign with the south-coast club, having hit the back of the net 18 times across all competitions.
Heading into the final Ligue 1 game of the season against Reims, Gignac has argued his improved fitness has been the key this season.
Gignac notched 12 goals in his maiden season with Marseille before only scoring twice in the 2011/12 campaign.
“For two years, I was continuously injured,” Gignac said.
“I have been operated on three times.
“I’ve had problems in my recovery.
“There are no excuses but when you have a full preparation, when you are clear from injuries, you are in a better shape.
“On the pitch, I feel now better physically and mentally.”