News Column

Ben Arfa's lack of work-rate could see him off-loaded by Pardew

February 15, 2014

Paul Fraser

HATEM BEN ARFA'S future at Newcastle United could come to an end this summer after a season of frustration.

The French playmaker has been a bit-part player over the last eight months because of Alan Pardew's preference to see greater work- rate from his attacking midfielders.

Ben Arfa had been expected to have a more prominent role following the [pounds]20m sale of Yohan Cabaye last month, but has lost his place again in the heavy defeats to Chelsea and Tottenham.

His soporific performance after his introduction as a substitute against Spurs hardly helped his cause and he is believed to have felt the full force of Pardew's dressing room rant.

With one more season remaining on his contract at St James' Park, Ben Arfa is likely to be sold if the price is right as the club would prefer not to see the player leave for nothing a year later.

The 26-year-old is arguably the most gifted player of them all on Tyneside but Pardew has always wanted to get more out of him in a defensive capacity.

Due to injuries and form, Ben Arfa's appearances have been restricted to just 47 Premier League starts since arriving, initially on loan, from Marseille in August 2010.

During the course of 2013 there had been interest in him from a number of clubs, with Liverpool, Tottenham and Arsenal all known to have considered him as an attacking recruit.

Figures of more than [pounds]10m were being talked about at that time, but after the season he has had Newcastle could be fortunate to get their money back for a player they paid [pounds]5.5m for in January 2011.

The France international, who does not appear to have any chance of going to the World Cup this summer, having not played for Les Bleus since Euro 2012, would prefer to play in a position just behind the striker.

But Pardew has been reluctant to give him a run in that role, despite the departure of Cabaye, and when he was introduced against Tottenham it was on the right wing.

Ben Arfa looked disinterested and is believed to have been slammed by his boss inside the dressing room along with his compatriot Sylvain Marveaux. At the same time Pardew informed the playing staff that they will not be having this fixture-free weekend off entirely.

Newcastle, out of the FA Cup because of a third-round defeat to Cardiff in January, do not play again until the visit of Aston Villa a week tomorrow, when French forward Loic Remy will be available again after suspension.

Newcastle learned yesterday that Remy, 27, will face no further action after he was arrested over rape claims last May, so he will be around for the run-in before his loan from QPR expires at the end of the season.

It is also hoped skipper Fabricio Coloccini and midfielder Cheik Tiote will be fit to face Villa.

Full-back Massadio Haidara is one player desperate to prove his worth in a Newcastle shirt. Italian Davide Santon was hauled off at half-time against Tottenham in midweek, so his place is far from secure for the next game.

Haidara has not started a Premier League game this season, despite looking hugely impressive before sustaining a knee injury atWigan almost a year ago.

Now the 21-year-old, signed from Nancy for [pounds]2m in January 2013, hopes for a fresh chance to prove his worth.

"I'm feeling good, " said Haidara. "I am trying to keep in the manager's mind for the first team by playing well for the Under-21s and in training. I'm fit now.

"I can play in the first team but I am waiting for the manager to say that he needs me.

I hope to be back in the first team soon.

"I can't say whether I will be in the team or not, that is up to the manager.

"I'm just waiting for a chance."


For more stories on investments and markets, please see HispanicBusiness' Finance Channel



Source: Northern Echo (England)


Story Tools