Hatem Ben Arfa’s career looks to be in limbo once again after a return to football has collapsed according to reports in France.
The Frenchman, who donned the black-and-white stripes for 4 years from 2010-2015, was set to join Ligue 1 side Nantes after a 5-month spell without a club since being released from Rennes in the summer, however Ouest France claim discussions have suddenly come to a halt just as he looked ready to sign.
Ben Arfa’s career has been plagued by discipline issues over the years after first bursting onto the scene as a talented youngster back in 2004, coming through the famous Olympique Lyonnais academy.
This latest break-down now leaves the player at a crossroads, with many suggesting the winger may have to drop down a division in order to secure first-team football.
From a Newcastle point of view, it’s hard to see this as anything but a real shame for Ben Arfa. The maverick had all the tools at his disposal to become a legend at the club, and throughout his time on Tyneside, he was a fan favourite with large sections of the supporters. Two of the best goals I’ve ever seen at St James’ Park were courtesy of the Frenchman.
Hatem Ben Arfa is someone who epitomises the belief that it is not just talent that gets you far in life but it is attitude and work-rate, something that separates the elite from the best. A Rafa Benitez or a Bobby Robson may have got the best out of a player like Hatem year in / year out, but it is easy to say that in hindsight when many quality managers have failed to do so.
Alan Pardew arguably got the best football out of Ben Arfa’s inconsistent career during the 2011/12 season, a year in which he was undeniably devastating playing on the right side of attack in a 4-3-3 system, alongside Papiss Cisse and Demba Ba.
The player’s best years are now surely behind him, but at 32 there could be a club out there willing to take a punt on him.
It just remains to be seen whether he is still worth the risk.