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Ben Arfa move may benefit everyone

Newcastle FanZoner Chris Knight discusses the conundrum surrounding French star Hatem Ben Arfa, and whether a move could benefit all parties.

Last Updated: 01/01/14 at 12:01 Post Comment

Hatem Ben Arfa: Plenty of food for thought for boss Pardew

Hatem Ben Arfa: Plenty of food for thought for boss Pardew

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Arguably the man of the match from the mauling of Stoke City, Hatem Ben Arfa once again found himself reduced to the familiar role of a substitute for the visit of Arsenal. With the Magpies entering 2014 in an optimistic mood, the New Year looks far less rosy for the talented fan favourite.

Newcastle's run of seven victories in their last ten fixtures has demonstrated and perhaps vindicated Pardew's preference for Gouffran and Sissoko in the wide areas. The selection of these two defensively astute players is clearly to compensate for the attacking tendencies of Debuchy and Santon, a role which Ben Arfa is evidently not suited to. With the team sitting close to the top of the form table, there is also an obvious reluctance to tinker with a successful formula.

However, Pardew's uncertainty over the player extends beyond the last couple of months. In his time at Newcastle, Ben Arfa has been deployed in numerous positions and only rarely secured a sustained run in the first eleven. Injuries haven't helped but whether it is as a false nine, a number ten or a wide player, the Frenchman seemingly hasn't done enough to convince his manager. Glimpses of match-winning brilliance cannot disguise the difficulty Pardew has continually faced in accommodating the player into the side.

As a fan favourite, any prospective departure from St. James' Park would be greeted with mass disapproval. No such transfer has even been mooted as of yet. However, with Newcastle's publically known financial limitations and the player's personal ambitions, it is hard to envisage a long term scenario where Ben Arfa can merely remain as a luxury substitute. A reasonable offer for a player currently outside the first eleven could tempt Pardew to cash in with the intention of reinvesting.

With the January window opening in a World Cup year, it is surprising that the future of one of the club's most prized assets hasn't been speculated upon. With all of the transfer talk currently focused on Cabaye, the situation surrounding Ben Arfa seems to have slipped under the radar. Injuries or a drop in form could see the winger restored to the first eleven sooner rather than later. For now though, Ben Arfa's spell on the sideline looks set to continue into the New Year.

By Chris Knight, FanZone's Newcastle blogger. Don't forget to follow @FanZone for links to all the latest blogs.

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S

terling needs to be told though that upon entering the Arsenal squad he will re-enact the final scene from Highlander where he will be thrown around a warehouse by cartoon dragons and then be a mere mortal that will only ever spend three to four weeks a season playing football and the rest on the physio's bed. There can be only one.....player available at The Emirates.

rodger's gusset
Arsenal interest in Sterling

T

he game changed in our favour when Carrick came on. We were able to play further up the pitch due to having a player who can give and go with the ball and keep possession. Yet barkley made some runs and Townsend scored a good goal but carrick's inclusion and chiellini's withdrawal made the biggest difference to the flow of the game

ricky villa
Hodgson: Barkley was brilliant

N

o, you've not silenced anyone Andros, i'm afraid. We know you can score a great goal, and it's really handy to have your direct running and willingness to shoot on the bench. But until you can do the other things expected of a winger (beat the man, put a decent cross in, stay wide etc) then you can't expect more than a regular cameo. Wonderful goal though, what a hit! No wonder Buffon wanted the shirt.

badwolf
Townsend: I've silenced critics

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