Guillem Balague has insisted that Hatem Ben Arfa is not an option for Barcelona in this summer’s transfer market despite speculation suggesting otherwise.
The Nice star will see his contract expire with the Ligue 1 side this summer, and after bagging 18 goals and five assists in 36 appearances in all competitions this season, he has attracted significant interest from around Europe.
Still only 29, the Frenchman arguably has one more opportunity to make his mark with a big club, and that appeared to be the Catalan giants who were prepared to make him an offer.
Given his form this season, it is no surprise that the free-agent-to-be will have options on the table at the end of the season, but Balague doesn’t believe that Barca will be one of them.
“Ben Arfa is not an option for Barcelona. He was considered because he is available for free, but Barcelona have now said ‘no’ to that possibility,” he told Sky Sports.
Luis Enrique’s side are currently in the midst of a thrilling La Liga title race that has gone down to the final day of the season, and given the options at the Spanish tactician’s disposal, it is difficult to see where Ben Arfa would fit in.
Admittedly, depth is key for a club of their stature given their expectations of competing on various fronts, but with Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar leading in an attacking trident, it’s also up for debate as to whether Ben Arfa would risk seeing his momentum and progress disrupted by a move to the Nou Camp.