Joey Barton has warned Steven Fletcher to expect a "baptism of fire" at Marseille. The 28-year-old forward has joined the French club in one of the most unlikely deals of transfer deadline day and Barton – who played for Marseille in 2012-13 – has told the Scotland international to brace himself for a bumpy ride.
Barton, 33, explained that Fletcher has joined the club at an important juncture in their season. He added that Fletcher is likely to struggle to secure a place in the Marseille first team.
"There's huge expectation on Steven Fletcher," Barton told BBC Radio 5 live about the pressure surrounding the player. "The club are six points off the Champions League places, so the season is really at a crossroads. It's going to be a baptism of fire.
"It's going to be difficult for him to get in the starting XI. Marseille play 4-2-3-1 and Michy Batshuayi is the main centre forward."
Meanwhile, Marseille's official website welcomed their on-loan signing from Sunderland by stressing the importance of his nationality.
"He will not go unnoticed. Marseille has added a Scotsman to the mix. And if you know anything about the mentality of those people, you'll know that's good news," Marseille said of the player on loan from Sunderland.
Fletcher signed for Sunderland in 2012, but is out of contract in the summer. The Scotland international is hoping a successful spell at Marseille will help to secure his long-term playing future.