Hatem Ben Arfa has been attracting the interest of Liverpool if reports in the press are anything to go by.
Generally speaking they aren’t anything to go by, but because it would be bad news losing such a talented player these rumours seem to carry more weight than if, say, a good rumour was published by the papers.
Whether Liverpool or anyone else are interested or not or whether a move to such a club is as appealing as once was is not the area I want to discuss. What I want to look at is whether the time has come now to offer Hatem Ben Arfa a new deal, to protect ourselves more than anything else.
The fact is that if an offer comes in for one of our players above and beyond our valuation of them then they will be sold. I’m not making that up, we’ve heard often enough from the likes of Derek Llambias that we’re “open for business” although I get the feeling that to open the exit doors an offer for a player will have to be an extremely good one.
Ben Arfa will only have two years remaining on his current deal come the summer. He will be 26 years old and should have his prime years in front of him. Would it not then make sense to tie him down for the long-term, similar to what we’ve done with other players?
A few weeks ago Ben Arfa was making noises about the club showing a bit of ambition. Judging by his most recent words and his proclamation that he can win things at Newcastle I’m assuming that he’s happy enough with what has been achieved in the transfer market in January. He also seems happy with his manager, again judging by his own words. He doesn’t seem to be clambering to get away.
However how happy would he be should a team come in for him that pricks his interest? I’m talking a real current heavyweight of the game, a team you can’t really say no to that play in the Champions League regularly and challenge for trophies every season. Or say a club he has a strong feeling for, like PSG, come in for him. What then?
You could argue that all of his ambition could be achieved right here under certain circumstances, but it would take a significant change of circumstances in my humble opinion. Nothing wrong with trying of course, but the reality is that instant success is very appealing when a career is, relatively speaking, so short.
A new long-term deal for Ben Arfa would benefit us in this scenario. It would ensure that Hatem is tied down for his best years should we be able to fulfil his trophy ambitions, and it would also ensure we get top dollar should a club decide to try and test our resolve.
Sign him up now!