French winger has proven his ability at St James’ Park.
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Newcastle boss Alan Pardew is hoping to make his first signing next week by completing a permanent deal for French winger Hatem Ben Arfa.
The 23-year-old, who signed on a season-long loan deal from Marseille during the summer, has been out of action since October 3 when he suffered a double leg fracture in a challenge with Manchester City’s Nigel de Jong.
He had played only four games for the Magpies when misfortune struck, but showed enough to persuade them to attempt to take up an option on a permanent deal.
Ben Arfa is understood to have travelled to Tyneside to meet Pardew – he was brought to the club initially by Chris Hughton – and Newcastle will seek to wrap up the move early in the transfer window, which opens at the weekend.
The Magpies were hoping to do the deal on the quiet amid reports that Liverpool too are interested in the midfielder, but on Wednesday news of his impending departure was circulating in France.
Hughton, who was sacked earlier this month, had planned to make a decision on Ben Arfa, who is valued at around £5million, at the end of the season.
However, his impressive early form – he scored a stunning winner at Everton on September 18 – has persuaded the club to move in January. (Press Association)
Prior to his injury, Hatem Ben Arfa was looking like an outstanding acquisition for Newcastle United, and the news that the club are expecting to sign him up for just £5m will be welcome on Tyneside.
As well as a wonderful goal against Everton at Goodison Park, he showed a work rate and passion for the cause that immediately earned him a rapport with the supporters.
The Frenchman’s guile and creativity would have been a great aid to the team’s effort to stay in the Premier League were it not for his injury.
Who knows what might have happened had Nigel De Jong not made the tackle that fractured Ben Arfa’s leg – perhaps the Dutchman would still be playing for his national side, and perhaps Chris Hughton might still be in the hotseat at St James’ Park…
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