Hatem Ben Arfa is a good player, and maybe a great player, and it could well be that he’ll fulfill his enormous potential under the quiet-spoken but successful manager Chris Hughton, at the famous Newcastle United club.
Hatem Ben Arfa – on season-long loan deal at Newcastle
The French International has been watched by the top clubs in Europe throughout his relatively short career, and he almost ended up at – you guessed it – Arsenal – two years ago when he left Lyon, but the move to the Eastlands clubs did not go through.
He eventually moved to Marseilles in 2008, and had a tough time of it there from the time that new manager, Didier Deschamps took over in May last year, mainly because the manager didn’t pick him very much.
But the gifted player is now on Tyneside, and has already shown the appreciative Newcastle fans, what an immensely talented player he really is.
He has given an interview today to the News of the World (NOTW) and he says that he will continue to take risks on the football pitch and in life – that sounds OK with us.
This is what he told the NOTW:
“Liking or disliking me is an ideological choice and I’m proud of it. My way of playing is a way of seeing life. Your way of playing is who you are,” “For example, if I hadn’t been a footballer, I would have got by. I would have set something up. Even perhaps something illegal, who knows? I can’t be nicey-nice, robotic.”
“I have never been tempted to take fewer risks. I will never give up on how I play. I know I have to improve things that aren’t good but every player has his role.” “A defender shouldn’t dribble. If my job is to create space and movement, then it’s my job to dribble but this has risks. People have a go at me because it’s imperfect.”
“But I’ll keep taking risks all my life. I’m not a Playstation player and what I do is to create something that’s never existed before. Sometimes it doesn’t work.” “When it works, you’re God, when you screw up, you’re less than a nobody. So, yes, I put myself on the line because otherwise it’s too easy.”
“If I don’t want to be criticised, I’ll just get the ball and play square passes but that would be selfish as I would be protecting myself and not helping my team.” “Those who succeed are the ones who take more risks – in life, in business, in everything!”
Chris Hughton’s new Newcastle side have made a good start to the season, and are on a two game winning streak, after beating Everton at Goodison Park last Saturday and Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night in the Carling Cup, and it seems that the Newcastle boss is only too willing to give the lad his head in the Newcastle side.
Chris wants the French International to continue to do what is not expected by the opposition – and even by the Newcastle players.
Great players do that and Chris knows the lad is a potentially world-class player and he dubbed him a cracking little player – when asked if Newcastle were interested in the French International in the summer.
Ben Arfa may be difficult to handle, maybe, but he’s a talent that can turn games, because he has that little bit of extra skill called class – pure class in his case, that can win tough games for Newcastle, as indeed he did last week when he scored what could become the goal of the season.
Ben Arfa, from a seemingly safe position – at least from Everton’s viewpoint – moved to his right then moved to his left and hit a bullet from all of 30 yards out at great speed into the back of the net.
It was his first shot in the game for Newcastle – and of course his first goal fro the club, which he dedicated to the Newcastle fans, and it got all 3 vital points for the Magpies.
Ben Arfa, 23, was born and raised in the suburbs of Paris, and came through the country’s famous youth academy at Clairefontaine five years ago, along with Samir Nasri, Karim Benzema and Jeremy Menez.
But Ben Arfa also believes his time at Lyon was under-mined by the then senior players at the club, which at the time included Juninho Paulista, Gregory Coupet and Chelsea’s Florent Malouda.
The 23 year-old continued:
“When I started training with the pros and I was only 17, a few of the senior guys made me feel like I was only a kid who hadn’t made it yet,” “These players actually had problems with all the youngsters coming through, not just me, but when you’re the first one it feels strange.”
“And it went a lot further with me than the others. Maybe because I’m a bit of a rebel, I hate injustice. Sometimes I should have just shut my gob but I couldn’t help it.”
Notice the little bit of Geordie dialect in that last sentence – so he’s learning the local language and quickly it seems! 😀
But Ben Arfa could well find he has landed right on his feet on Tyneside, as the famous Geordie fans just love players with the sublime skills that Ben Arfa has in no small measure.
And they have already made him a bit of a hero on Tyneside – well let’s put it this way – he’s set Newcastle alight already, and Chris Hughton says he is simply delighted with the lad’s play and behavior so far at the club.
Ben Arfa will line up tomorrow afternoon for Newcastle and if he plays anywhere near the form he’s already shown the Newcastle fans – and apparently the Newcastle coaches and players in training every day – he”ll again be a huge influence in the home game against Stoke City – which is being televised live around the world.
But Ben Arfa has no worries on Tyneside- no worries at all – because he’s already adored by the Newcastle fans – they just love this lad.