This title may come as a surprise to some who are reading this, but all those who have seen Hatem Ben Arfa in the last few months will realise that this is a player who not only ignites fear and terror into the hearts and minds of the opposition defence, he is also a player who can make St Jamesk Park roar with excitement that I have not experienced since the days of Beardsley and Ginola. Quite simply he is, when on form, sensational. Unstoppable. Unplayable. Unsellable….?
You may think this is a negative article and is encouraging the wrong glances but let me tell you the world is sitting up and noticing Hatem Ben Arfa. Few players can beat so many men at ease, few can turn a game in a split second. Everyone wants a player of this class. Which is why for me signing him up to a long contract much like we did with Tiote is more important than Demba Ba.
I am not discrediting Demba Ba’s contribution this year. He has been nothing short of magnificent but as good as he is can he be replaced? I would argue he could but what about Ben Arfa? You are struggling probably as much as I am to see many players who can match his skill and ability.
Can I just add that the Newcastle owners do deserve a hell of a lot of credit to sign him up permanently when he was out injured for a year was a massive gamble, and for a measly £5m! How good does that look now? You have to admire that, yet another transfer masterstroke.
It is about time we all showed that we support this current regime. Lets be honest you earn respect and whilst they have not covered themselves with glory you cant hold it against them forever. Credit where credit is due if we can’t give it now when can we?
But for me the most credit should go to a Mr Alan Pardew. He held back and held back in playing Ben Arfa we all screamed for him to do so. Surely you play your best players? Pardew knew that building him up drumming into him the importance of defending as well as attacking, increasing his work rate, letting him get fitter with each game, would make a player that could be unstoppable. He has managed an ‘enfant terrible’ with ease.
And Ben Arfa has responded magnificently. Like all good managers, Pardew is playing down our successes and in reality with us 13 points ahead of Liverpool (13!) we are surely proving to the world of football that we are a force again, showing Andy Carroll and Jose Enrique we are European contenders.
So Hatem Ben Arfa, don’t worry my son! Newcastle will get you into Europe and beyond but we need you at the helm! Howay the Lads!