Hatem Ben Arfa insists he is happy at Newcastle and is willing to stay, unless a really big club can convince him to move over the summer.
The 25-year-old is away with France at the moment which is probably why there seems to be increased interest in the former “enfant terrible” of French football, and is probably why L’Equipe have been asking him questions.
A lot of faith has been shown in Hatem Ben Arfa. From Mike Ashley to Chris Hughton to Alan Pardew, all have shown faith in him in varying degrees, whether it be by putting an extra arm around him or by opting to still sign him despite suffering an horrific double leg break injury right at the start of his career on Tyneside. That fact is not lost on Hatem who insists he loves the importance he feels on Tyneside.
“I’ve never felt as settled at a club as I do at Newcastle. I feel like I’m somebody important there, it’s a magnificent feeling,” Ben Arfa told L’Equipe.
“I haven’t forgotten the coach made me sign, even though I was only on loan from Marseille and I was injured.”
You see, a bit of faith goes a long way sometimes although it will only get you so far. However that is not to say that Ben Arfa will never move and realistically if certain clubs come calling it is likely he will want to move on, but it will only be if he feels happy with the new club according to the player himself.
“If I do not have a really, really serious proposal, I’ll stay. If a big club comes, but does not propose something interesting – that is to say, the coach really wants me – I’ll stay,” said Ben Arfa.
He added: “If I do not feel the confidence of the [potential interested clubs] coach 100 per cent, I will not leave. Newcastle is a big club, even if there are bigger. I still have a three-year contract.”
Now I know people will latch on to that last bit, and a few websites and newspapers have even seen fit to write their own agenda by only quoting the last part, but realistically isn’t that just what may happen anyway?
As I wrote in thisarticle, we are a stepping stone onto greater things at the moment and if current luminaries of the football world come calling offering Champions League football and/or a pay rise we are going to find it difficult to keep players happy.
People at this point usually single out Tottenham and their approach to Luka Modric, but go on their websites and you will see that they are equally keen to get rid now as they feel that his heart hasn’t been in it over the last season.
The only way we can avoid such a situation is by removing the stepping stones and offering everything a player will ever want here at Newcastle. It may take a while and it may never happen, but it should be fun trying.
If Benny has a good European Championships we might have something to worry about, but until then I think we’ll be fine and we’ll see our number ten lining up for us next season no bother.
Remember, it will have to be a special offer for the player – and the club – to even consider it!