High-Flying AS Roma Eye January Bid For In-Demand Newcastle United Star

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Serie A leaders to strengthen with French winger.

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High-flying Serie A giants Roma could look to strengthen their title charge this January with a raid on Premier League side Newcastle for Hatem Ben Arfa, CaughtOffside understands.

The Stadio Olimpico side, managed by Frenchman Rudi Garcia, are currently top of Serie a with eight wins out of eight, though their fine form is something of a surprise given a difficult summer which saw them lose several key players.

With promising young defender Marquinhos making a big-money move to PSG, and key attacking duo Erik Lamela and Pablo Osvaldo both moving to the Premier League with Tottenham and Southampton respectively, Roma remain somewhat short of squad depth and have plenty of money left over to spend when the transfer window re-opens for business this January.

Ben Arfa has now emerged as a top target for Garcia, who is fan of his fellow countryman’s natural flair and ability, as well as versatility in being able to operate as an out-and-out left winger, or in a more central role behind the main striker.

The 26-year-old has been at St James’ Park since 2010, and although he has often struggled for consistency during his time in England, he has also been known to be capable of moments of individual and eye-catching brilliance, which has seen him linked with bigger clubs on several occasions.

Newcastle’s Premier League rivals Liverpool are believed to be monitoring his situation this January as well as he stalls on signing a new contract with the Magpies, and Roma believe they may be in with a chance of bringing him to the Italian capital as Newcastle will be keen to avoid selling one of their star players to another English side.

Ben Arfa has also been linked with a return to France with big-spending pair PSG and Monaco, though Garcia hopes he can persuade the French international that he can find success with Roma after their terrific start to the season. He may also be more likely to gain regular first-team football with the club, while the likes of PSG and Monaco continue to expand their squads with big-name signings.

Newcastle seem prepared for Ben Arfa’s departure as they target wingers such as Tom Ince and Wilfried Zaha as replacements, and an offer close to £15m could be enough for Roma to land one of their main January targets.

Garcia’s side are still also keen on signing a new striker to replace Osvaldo, and could revive their interest in taking Chelsea misfit Demba Ba on loan, though they are also examining other options.

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