Ben Arfa was brought up in one of the finest football academies – France’s Clairefontaine.
Hatem Ben Arfa – came through the Clairefontaine Academy
Some of France football’s best players came through the Academy, including Nicolas Anelka, Louis Saha, William Gallas and Thierry Henry, and there’s little doubt Newcastle will have their eye on players coming through that Academy at the moment.
Of course our bargain basement buy from Rennes a couple of years ago, center-back Sebastien Bassong, also came through the Academy. Seb played just one season at Newcastle, and he was Newcastle’s player of the season in our relegation year, but he then left for Spurs last summer at a fee of around £8M, which was around £7.5M profit for the Newcastle club in just 10 months – not too bad at all.
And it turns out that French International Hatem Ben Arfa played with Seb while they were both at the Clairefontaine.
Clairefontaine is in the Paris suburbs, and Ben Arfa today told the Evening Chronicle about life at the Academy and that he indeed played with Bassong:
Ben Arfa said:
“I played with Sebastian at the Academy.” “It is a very technically based center.” “We learned the main aspect of football which is working together as a team.
“I was there from 12 to 15, before that I lived in Paris with my family and then went to Lyon as a young player.” “My father was a footballer at a good level in Tunisia.”
Ben Arfa has 8 caps so far for his country with a couple of goals, and it’s obvious the youngster is keen to play a lot more times for France.
And they will certainly need him, with French football in such a mess following a very embarrassing World Cup, in which the French players went on strike – and we’ll not even mention they didn’t win one game in the tournament and didn’t advance beyond the group stage.
The 23 year-old continued:
“I hope that I can play many times for France in the future and being at Newcastle I can do that.”
Ben Arfa has joined Sol Campbell in trying to be fit enough to make his debut in the home game against Blackpool a week tomorrow.
We have to hope the two of them plus our other new signing, Cheick Tiote from FC Twente, all make the squad for that game, and if we can get 3 points, we’ll be well positioned in the Premier League with 7 points from our first 4 games. That would be great!
Currently we are in 8th position in the league.