Transfer news

Marseille set for home spending spree

May 2, 2013
By Andrew Scott, France Correspondent

Marseille will spend big to raid rival Ligue 1 clubs as they look to make an impression in next season's Champions League, L'Equipe has reported.

PA PhotosDamiao is a reported Marseille target

The sports daily said OM's budget would increase by 25% if the team qualifies automatically for the group stages by finishing in the Ligue 1 top two.

It reported that scouts were on the lookout for talent in Brazil and are believed to be watching Internacional striker Leandro Damiao, but most of the club's spending would be done at home.

Five or six new signings are expected at the Stade Velodrome - and possibly more if a leading European club is prepared to meet Marseille's asking price for highly-rated centre-back Nicolas Nkoulou.

Montpellier left-back Henri Bedimo, Lille winger Dimitri Payet and Lorient striker Jeremie Aliadiere are all said to be targets, although the latter is known to favour a return to England should an opportunity arise.

L'Equipe also reported that Marseille president Vincent Labrune had proposed to keep on-loan Joey Barton at the club for another year.

Barton's parent club Queens Park Rangers are believed to want him back at Loftus Road as they prepare for life in the Championship next season.

However, Barton is keen to stay where he is, even if he will have to take a significant pay cut to do so. The former Manchester City and Newcastle United player is said to earn in the region of £70,000 per week, but Labrune is not willing to offer more than £25,000.

Second-placed Marseille are four points clear of Lyon in third with four games remaining.

Failure to hold onto a top-two berth would leave them having to go through qualifying to reach the Champions League group stage - but they are on a run of eight games without defeat and will expect to beat Bastia at the Stade Velodrome this weekend.

However, right-back Rod Fanni is injured, while Ghanaian winger Andre Ayew is suspended after being sent off in last week's 1-0 win at Lorient. In addition, midfielder Benoit Cheyrou is a major doubt with a thigh injury.