Is it time to end the Ben Arfa love affair?

Time to move on?
Time to move on?
As a football fan I like to be excited. I like to be perched on the edge of my seat wondering what happens next.

I also like winning and having both is ideal, but at Newcastle we’ve had hardly any excitement or a decent run of wins for some time.

I think this is why I always look to go back to the excitement. Do we play exciting football? No, and we haven’t for a good few years now. Do we have a player who can excite and produce the extraordinary? The answer to that is most definitely yes. Yes we do. And at his brilliant best you’ll be hard pushed to find a more exciting player that has strutted his stuff at St James’ Park in the black and white for a good for years at least.

The problem is that the relationship between that player – Hatem Ben Arfa – and manager seems to have gone beyond the point of repair, which is a crying shame.

With clubs such as AC Milan and former club Lyon linked with the player it now seems just a matter of time before the talented playmaker departs, and although it pains me to say it, I think that moment can’t come soon enough.

A lot of fingers will be pointed towards Alan Pardew if or most likely when Ben Arfa departs, and I agree to a point. I do feel that Hatem was scapegoated by the manager especially towards the back end of last season.

As a manager it’s Pardew’s job to get the best out of a player. The strength of Ben Arfa is not in his tracking back or his work rate, his strength is making things happen in attack with his unpredictability. Pardew should have accommodated that, in my humble opinion at least.

However not all of this is Alan Pardew’s fault and the player himself must take his fair share of the blame. Are we just seeing history repeat itself?

In terms of performances we all know that Benny can win games on his own, but in all the time he’s been here you can count those types or performances on one hand and more often than not he drifts out of the game.

Apparently he’s come back to training not in an ideal state although the player contests this, he’s rumoured to have had arguments with team mates and he’ll throw digs at his state of affairs in interviews in his homeland. Not good is it really?

Thing is, I’d agree with him if this was the first time he’s found himself isolated at a club, but it happened at Lyon, Marseille, with his national team, us. You have to wonder don’t you? Maybe he is L’enfant terrible after all?

Maybe it’s time he was moved on, for the good of all concerned?

About toonsy

A lifelong Newcastle fan and current webmaster of this very 'blog who has the sole aim of creating a place by Newcastle United fans, for Newcastle United fans.

844 thoughts on “Is it time to end the Ben Arfa love affair?

  1. Mirror is on about Lascelles being tied up tomorrow, maybe rubbish but they don’t normally put timescales on it


  2. People on twitter are talking about two players coming from Forest. Karl Darlow being the other player.

    Sounds like absolute ******* to me.


  3. forget the real football…… πŸ˜‰
    Nufc blog fantasy league. 886131-212948
    Join now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  4. Aussie – I’m in πŸ˜‰

    Lascelles is a cracking young player. I’ve mentioned him a few times on here before. He’s been linked with Arsenal quite a bit as well though.
    He’d be a good signing, but wouldn’t bring a great deal of experience with him like. Still I think he’s shown at Forest that he’s capable, so why not.
    I’d still like Whickham as well though πŸ˜›


  5. Nice on Sharpy.. as long as you realise that involves putting up with Newkie talking himself up like Morinho jnr! πŸ˜†


  6. @GraemeBailey: Jamaal Lascelles and Karl Darlow due for Newcastle medicals this afternoon. Players will be loaned back to Forest for season.


  7. This year is mine, just like every year!

    Clearly the league dictates football intelligence. It’s no coincidence that Solano and I finished at the top and also happen to agree with each other 99% of the time and have spoken the most sense on this blog since it started up.

    And if more proof were needed, you finish behind me every year Aus πŸ˜€


  8. Dont get us loaning back Lascelles; When we are in need of a powerful quick centre half now

    Darlows grandad Ken Leek played for us briefly in the 60s apparantly


  9. Why we loaning back Lascelles, we need a CB. I guess that means we won’t be seeing a new CB join this season. πŸ™


  10. Seems odd we are getting another young defender and loaning him back out, we’ve still seen next to nowt of Good in pre season or anything. We need one for now imo.

    I’m thinking we probably won’t be getting one for the first team and these will be long term prospects to replace willo/colo who don’t have too long left..


  11. Forest have signed Mancienne and Laing on top of spending decent money on Wilson, Hobbs and Collins

    There not massively in need of a centre half, Im hoping we send the keeper back and keep Lascelles here


  12. Aus πŸ˜€
    I already have my excuses for this year lined up too, I’m on a fantasy league in the telegraph and the sun as well to win about 400 quid in each, so clearly if I’m doing badly in the blog league it’s because I have bigger fish to fry…. πŸ™‚


  13. Pete O’Rourke ?@SkySportsPeteO Β· 54 mins
    Nottingham Forest duo Jamaal Lascelles and Karl Darlow set to join Newcastle and then be loaned back. #NUFC #NFFC….6yr contracts on the table


  14. Been amazingly busy so haven’t managed to come on here to get my rational NUFC fan fix from you lot…

    Happy Birthday TOONSY I see! It’s my birthday tomorrow too as it happens!

    Happy with the signings so far and really hoping some of the young players (Armstrong, Streete, Aarons, Campbell, Sammy) can be decent parts of the squad. Not convinced on Fergie or Vuckic I have to say though.

    Bit baffled on the Wickham thing…he had a good few games and he’s English. I remember players like Mellor (Liverpool) and Stead (Blackburn) having good runs of form and people were calling for them to play for England! They didn’t get very far.

    Wickham is the right kind of player that we need but is he the right player? Unless someone on here has been secretly scouting the Mackem training grounds for the last year, I don’t think any of us truly know the answer to that…but I suspect not.


  15. Ice – do you know everything? Have to echo that though, Happy Birthday Toonsy!

    Don’t quite get these loan moves from Notts F. The club have been bigging up Satka, Good, Streete for ages now. We still need a better CB than Willo. Shawcross, Richards would do me.

    And there he is again – Mr Pardew. He has the balls to accuse HBA of unprofessional behaviour. Remember Meyler Pardew? The community service you were going to do? I thought that would be Fenham or Byker not Ascot and Monaco. Keeping away from the touchline now eh?


  16. Have joined the fantasy football league, my team is “Stripes and no stars”.

    Happy to join a head 2 head league too if someone sets one up. Good banter between competing players each week then!


  17. TDS – I’m with you on that. Wickham has consistently proved he’s not good enough. Scored a few tap ins to save the scum. Before that – nothing.

    I’m also confident that Ferreyra will be the business up top for us but it could be trouble trying to squeeze too many new boys in at the same time.



    I like the Ferreyra signing. Relatively young but old enough to have some experience. Get him on loan and if he suits the PL and NUFC, then sign him for a few million quid. If not, leave him on the bench and keep the powder dry.

    Still want to know if we’re trying to get another striker in. Lukaku at Β£28M would have been too much I reckon, considering the other areas we have needed to focus on, but are we going in for a similar style striker for a bit less? I’d love to think so but I doubt it sadly…


  19. TDS – think that’s it for the striker dept. Having said that I’m confused by the amount of signings. It’s all so strange. So strange I’m wary of it e.g is Colback any better than Guthrie/Perch? Having 3 CF’s too may just be a good idea. Who knows but I reckon WHU and Villa fans would prefer that to 1 expensive crock. As long as we’re not going to be Obertanned again.



    Why does the number of signings strike you as strange? Riviere can play on the wing too, SDJ is a proper number 10 in my eyes and it’s Cisse or Ferreyra as the main man up front as far as I can see.

    Or are you just in shock? πŸ™‚

    This time, the club have done exactly what they needed to do by getting the replacements in and getting them in early enough. Now they will need to get a few of the fringe players sold or loaned out to fit into our 25 man squad. Last summer we added injured Raylor just to make up the numbers!


  21. STUART

    Nothing wrong with signing a young keeper who could challenge the first team if he pushes on. Elliott is just an ok backup keeper and do our youngsters look ready for the PL?


  22. We have Woodman who’s suppose to be the bees knees. Just think we’re in danger of being a bit lob sided. We have about 20 left backs and will have 4 keepers now too.

    Maybe a couple will leave


  23. All these signings are great but have we spent any of the tv money! That is the important question!


  24. The fantasy league numbers are slowly building but we need more.. It only takes 10 minutes.. even Richie put a team together last season and we all know how hard it is to get him to do anything! πŸ˜†


  25. Easy to create a fantasy football team and enter the league. Unlimited changes until 11.30am on 16th August and you can still make changes after. It’s better to enter on time with an ok team (you can even do a random team) than enter 2 weeks late with a properly thought out team.

    Is anyone doing a head 2 head league?


  26. Loaning back Lascelles makes some sense. They probably will look to sell Saylor or MYM first and that probably won’t happen until January at this point. Plus Forest probably insisted on it.


  27. Head-to-head league. With the very creative name NUFC H2H

    Code: 769913-227862

    Max teams: 20

    3 knockout rounds at the end.

    The official Barclays Fantasy PL site.

    Far more interesting than the standard leagues. Far too hard for the likes of Newkie – he was too scared to even compete last year πŸ˜‰


  28. AMF have we spent the Andy Carroll money yet,maybe we could use it to buy him back πŸ˜€ ,we would get to keep the interest on it


  29. I know they are not over the mystical line but now people are unhappy we are signing players πŸ˜€

    I appreciate they’re feeling for urgency though, Rob Elliot has a couple of years on his contract so could be replaced by Darlow next year maybe

    Colo, Steven Taylor and Williamson have a couple of years to run so next year would be a good time to bring in Lascelles also i reckon, sure another seasons development won’t do him any harm


  30. Bris-you capped the league and left me out out of fear! Don’t try and use Troy-esque historical revisionism πŸ˜†


  31. Alan you couldn’t make it up. Nothing will ever be good enough for some fans now. If we managed top 6, i get a feeling they would be unhappy with it.

    These two deals are looking more likely by the minute. Still nothing solid though.


  32. Karl Darlow ‏@KarlDarlow Sep 7
    Toooooon @ChrisBrand26 @matthew_beevor @AndrewGreasley @JackEaton29

    Looks like they are on πŸ™„ πŸ˜† πŸ˜†


  33. Willo is long term for me. He’s never had pace so he won’t lose it, his game is positioning, physicality and heading and those only improve with age. No real reason Willo can’t continue to be rotation at least for a good few years, despite him being our most consistent and reliable CB presently.


  34. Santii@791 – I don’t think you’ve been here long enough to remember, but I remember after finishing 5th there were people saying finishing any lower next season would mean we were going backwards as a club! Absolutely no attention paid to context at all!

    If the players have been properly scouted I’m more than happy for us to have lads for the future, definitely a bit out of the blue tho!


  35. Newkie: no excuses this time, then. Or are you going to wait till the 20 teams are in and then cry foul again?


  36. Ouch Newkie! 😯

    I was on my spring loaded stilts when I felt a sharp stab in my back!

    I nearly fell off the roofs I was free running on! πŸ˜›


  37. Ice πŸ˜€ ahh the infamous Carroll money! The interest we’ve made on that 35m over the years surely must mean we have closer to 55m to spend! πŸ˜†


  38. Quit your posturing Bris, clearly you have indeed picked up some of the bad habits of the natives. I’m in!


  39. If rodwell stays fit he will be a tidy player I reckon. Rated him more than Colback anyway, but did stall himself by going to man city


  40. Rodwell – perma-crock. Talented kid who just can’t stay fit.

    Funky – I would swap Willo for any PL CB. He is tall, I’ll give you that.


  41. TDS@777 – these quotes from another article are the kind of thing that gives me the ‘strange’ feeling.

    The reinvestment, player-trading or circulation, call it whatever you want, is always going to be necessary as long as the official-shoving, swearing and head-butting man on our touchline is allowed to keep adjusting Newcastle United to his own purpose of just staying in the job. The squad that lost practically every game during the spring of 2014 would have entered into the new season with relegation not only a possibility, but rather a near certainty. Pardew was in urgent need of new toys, because that is how he gets by. There will be an impression that the club have reacted to the previous two years with actual investment. There will be a falsely painted picture of ambition.

    We are stuck with him because actual change would signal ambition and trigger hope of better football and better times. Actual change would create expectation, the last thing we want at a club where fresh ingredients have been bought to keep the chef from drowning in his own soup.


  42. Rolando Aarons: “I’m no-one yet, it’s just preseason, I haven’t done anything in any big games, so I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing. My job is to make the managers decision as hard as possible.”

    Great attitude from him, some of our more “senior” squad members would do well to take that on board. I think Obertan could learn from him on the playing side as well – trust in yourself and be positive!


  43. Glad we’re getting these lads from Forest- makes sense to loan them back too. Very few young prospects come through so you need as many as possible. Furthermore Forest have better record of bring through players than we do.

    However the loan back of one year for the goalie suggests Timmy will be on his way next year… if not sooner.



    If you have 30 teams and 3 knockout rounds at the end, doesn’t that just mean that everyone doesn’t have to play each other twice? Negating the main reason to limit it to 20 teams?



    That’s exactly the kind of comment that makes me yawn I have to say…I’ve heard it all before. Not talking about your “strange feeling” (ooer missus!) but, the quote you made that seems to be all too common amongst the doom-mongering NUFC fans

    The side that slid down the table in 2014 was shorn of creativity and confidence. But that side was just missing one player (Cabaye) when compared to the side that was riding high in the PL and had some fans (optimistically in my opinion at the time – and now) saying we could push for a CL place. It’s probably those same fans who were overly optimistic with Cabaye who have since been overly pessimistic without Cabaye. It’s easy to understand a club shorn of its main creative influence not having the motivation when they have nothing substantive to fight for. Virtually no chance of European football or relegation.

    So if we consider the side that was sitting nicely in the top 6 in the first half of last season, we have SDJ instead of Cabaye, Janmaat instead of Debuchy and Riviere instead of Remy. Then say Cabella instead of HBA (who barely featured), Ferreyra instead of Shola and Colback instead of Gosling and that looks a little more positive to me.


  46. TDS-Yeah, I think a lot will depend on the abilities of SDJ and Janmaat and that will swing it for most people. On paper SDJ is a better fit for us because Cabaye was another middie who liked to sit back, granted he got plenty of goals but they were from distance, or running late into the box, and when you have goal shy players like Tiote, Anita and Jonas also in the side that doesn’t help too much. Janmaat has time on his side and can hopefully improve to be better than Debuchy, but will he be able to fill in from the off? Hope so!


  47. NEWKIE

    Key for me is the number of goal threats. Last season it looked like the opposition would just need to look after Remy and Cabaye and then we barely looked like scoring. Now there are a lot more players that they will need to look after and that will just create more space for each of them.


  48. TDS-That is definitely the hope πŸ™‚ and we seem to have more pace in the side now to exploit that space, where for years we’ve been pretty slow up top.


  49. NEWKIE

    Interesting thought…last year if you asked fans who would be the top scorer, they’d have said Cisse or Remy. This year? Cisse? SDJ? RiviΓ¨re? Maybe even Ferreyra, Cabella or Goofy?

    At least we have some new attacking players to get excited about! πŸ™‚


  50. Looks like we have got those two lads from Forrest. Great business by the club.

    Paul Taylor ‏@nottmtails 10m
    Stuart Pearce confirms that Darlow and Lascelles were sold against his advice. #nffc ‘I thought we could have pushed for a higher figure’.


  51. β€œWe had an offer from Newcastle, that I was made aware of last week, in regards to the two players going there,” said Pearce.

    β€œThe figures that were mentioned, by the representative of our club – I said I would not do that deal, when I was asked the question.

    β€œI thought I could push their value up and that they would be worth more in the long run.

    β€œThe first I heard today about things was when Jamaal Lascelles came in and told me that he had a medical at 2pm at Newcastle.

    β€œThat disappointed me greatly.”

    Pearce does feel that he has a good relationship with owner Fawaz Al Hasawi, but said he felt the need to be honest with fans about the background of the deal.

    β€œI think I have a good relationship with the club,” he said.

    β€œBut obviously, for whatever reason, they have decided to take the money on this situation.

    β€œI do not agree with it. But the only olive branch I have got is that the boys are both coming back on a year loan, which is a bonus.

    β€œBut I felt that, if they stayed at the club, they would only have increased in value.”


  52. Stuart Pearce not seeming to 100% grasp the details of modern football transfers for smaller clubs…it’s the old “a bird in the hand is worth 2 in the bush” scenario. Sure, they could have kept hold of them and sold them for double that in a couple of years, but there’s also a chance they stagnate and no PL club would want them. And besides, in the meantime, Forest might need that Β£7M and, as we all know, NUFC pay their transfer fees up front. So this season, Forest have 2 highly promising youngsters AND Β£7M.

    Not good for Forest that they need the money but hopefully good for us that we’ve got two promising English youngsters! We used to do it a lot with players like Dyer and Jenas so I’m glad to see us trying this again.


  53. I think these two Notts Forest players in the pipeline – is the clubs way of showing Saylor and Alnwick aren’t good enough and I agree.


  54. DJG

    Don’t be silly! You’re not seriously suggesting that the club is signing players with forethought are you??


  55. DJG

    Hope so i think both and maybe Elliot will be moved on by the time we get them back next season.


    There is varying reports on the price some say Β£5 mil and some Β£7 mil either way i think its a bad deal of Forrest and a great deal for us.

    Surely that has to be us done on the transfer front..


  56. Lyon President Jean Michel Aulas has admitted he would be interested in welcoming Newcastle United winger Hatem Ben Arfa back to the club.

    He had the following to say to our colleagues at RMC:

    β€œBen Arfa to make a return? If he is willing to make the necessary financial effort, why not?”


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