It seems as though our reformed “enfant terrible” Hatem Ben Arfa may not be so reformed after all.
The papers are full of stories suggesting that our dynamic forward had a bust up with his international manager Laurent Blanc in the wake of France’s 2-0 defeat to Sweden the other night.
Apparently Hatem was less than impressed with being hauled off on the hour mark and feels like he was being made a scapegoat for the poor performance of the team insisting that there were worse performers than him on the pitch. In truth it would be hard to disagree as France were awful in a game that could have set them up to win the group and leave England having to worry about playing Spain at the weekend.
The row, apparently anyway, erupted after Blanc and the team returned to the dressing room after the final whistle to find Hatem chatting to his family on his mobile phone. This led to the row and Hatem, again apparently, telling Blanc to send him home of he doesn’t think he s worth a place in the team.
It’s well worth pointing out also that it has now been sorted and everyone has kissed and made up, but after all the arguments in the French game back in the World Cup in 2010, the last thing they needed this time around was more of the same. Florent Malouda even went as far as claiming that the row had “awakened demons” within him regarding the last major tournament France took part in.
There are a couple of things about this story which make me think…. The first one is just how true it all is to begin with. Nobody is going to know aside from those involved. Maybe there was an argument, but it wouldn’t be beyond the realms of reality for the press to make more of it than there actually was. Hatem does have form for this kind of behaviour though.
The second one, being dangerous and assuming it is indeed correct, is that it shows that Hatem Ben Arfa is perhaps not as reformed as some would believe. For Newcastle we’ve not heard a peep from him although seemingly old habits die hard and Hatem is that kind of player who can just have a sulky moment at any given time.
Surely that is a good thing from our perspective though? I mean if you were a manager that was looking at maybe trying to sign him, wouldn’t something like this set alarm bells off in your head? You never know, but perhaps it could be “good” enough to put any prospective buyers off of our talismanic Frenchman?