The Journal finally delivered us with some potentially good news on Saturday, with Mark Douglas reporting that fan favorite Hatem Ben Arfa is ready to commit his long term future to Newcastle United. I know I’m a bit late reporting this one and I do apologize for the delay, but hey it’s a good talking point.
It’s been a rather bleak week for news, beginning with the unpopular appointment of Joe Kinnear which has been followed by multiple rumors of player unrest and various spats at the club. It was largely becoming a case of what fresh bit of humiliation will we endure today whenever picking up a newspaper or checking News Now for updates. If The Journal is to be trusted then it seems we may have something to smile about at last.
Hatem Ben Arfa has attracted a lot of interest as of late both in England and from abroad. The Frenchman’s future has been the subject of speculation for some time, with one paper even suggesting that the club were willing to cash in. Ben Arfa has quashed any talk of a summer departure by insisting he has ‘no interest’ in joining the likes of Liverpool or Monaco, two clubs that have been heavily linked with the player. Benny is keen to extend his stay on Tyneside and he could get his wish as contract talks are said to be in place as early as this week.
Hatem has always spoke of his fondness for the Newcastle fans. A source close to the player spoke of the attacker’s intentions:
“Hatem doesn’t want to go to Monaco or Paris Saint Germain, he wants to play in front of a stadium full of Newcastle fans who feel the same way about him as he does about them,”
I have to say I am pleasantly surprised, I thought that Ben Arfa would be weighing up his options this summer following our disastrous campaign last season. Hatem has had a bit of a reputation in the past of being a bit a sulker, something that has hindered him massively at times. To be honest as happy as I was when we signed him I was very conscious of the fact that he threatened to go on strike at Marseille to force through his transfer to Newcastle. I thought we were signing someone with a lots of ability but a poor attitude and someone that probably wouldn’t want to stick around for too long.
Since we have had him I don’t recall him spitting the dummy at all to be and I think he’s matured massively since moving to England. His initial loan move turned permanent as he became Alan Pardew’s first signing as Newcastle manager. Hatem was still recovering from that horrific injury sustained at the hands of Nigel De Jong when Pardew arrived. The injury didn’t put Alan off adding Ben Arfa to the squad on a permanent basis, which probably says a lot about Hatem’s character.
It sounds terrible but I was almost waiting for him to decide he wanted to move on for one reason or another, I certainly didn’t feel last seasons disappointment would help us keep hold of our ‘purples’ come the start of the new season. It seems I was very premature with my opinion as the player seems as happy as ever at the club, which is great to hear. Let’s hope the contract talks are really penciled in for this week. With Colo already committing himself to the club next season, it’s nice to hear that Benny wants to follow suit.
Get in Ben Arfra!