As we reported yesterday it could well be that we will not see Hatem Ben Arfa play again for Newcastle United this season.
Ben Arfa – to remain at Clairfontaine for immediate future
And news today that the French International will not be retuning to Tyneside soon, but will complete all his rehabilitation in France at the Clairfontaine Center, which is located just south of Paris.
Alan Pardew wanted him to be with the Newcastle players as soon as possible at one time, but the Newcastle manager admits he has changed his mind on that, and that followed a long phone call with the player, who turned 24 last Monday.
The news now is that Ben Arfa will stay in France until he is ready to train again with the first team, and Alan explained this today:
“We’ve kind of questioned that decision at times,” “Whether to bring him back and have treatment here? Get him embedded into the city a little bit more.”
“But I think the personal issue he had with what happened in Tunisia with his family and him, as a person, we just think it’s better he stays there.”
“It’s nothing to do with the French national team or anything like that – you have to take on board that he’s a foreign player, newly arrived in the country and the injury happened so early for him.”
“Would you really want to be stuck here with a broken leg with people he doesn’t really know? He’s been brought up there, he knows the doctor and everything else.”
“It’s kind of a moral debate that me and the doctor have had – shall we bring him back? We just keep coming to the same decision – let’s just leave him there, he seems to be progressing well.”
“Other than being in the city and getting used to the restaurants and God knows what else, there’s no other benefit for us at the moment.”
Ben Arfa has only made four appearances for the Magpies with one goal, but he has quickly shown not only what a great player he is, but has immediately been embraced by the Newcastle faithful, who love to see wingers with flair, creativity and skill, and the Frenchman has all of those qualities.
Alan Pardew pushed hard to get Ben Arfa signed up, almost as soon as he arrived last December, and he is willing to wait to ensure the lad makes a full and complete recovery, and after all, that’s the most important thing.
“If you listen to some of the reports coming out of France, he could be playing again next week.” “But realistically I’ve always said with that kind of injury – when you have to get your confidence back and so on – I still think the back end of April, the start of May. If at all.”
“In my mind, as manager of the club, I haven’t got him penciled in for any game. If I get him back, it’s a bonus for me.”
“He’s running 20 minute periods, he’s on constant attention at Clairefontaine, he seems to be enjoying the treatment and everything else. Our doctor travels over and makes sure. The facilities there are absolutely brilliant.”
This is a very sensible and careful approach being taken by the club, for one of our very best players, so let’s not look forward too much to him returning this season, because it just may not happen.
For the record, it’s now 23 weeks come Sunday that Ben Arfa broke his left lower leg in two places at Eastlands against Manchester City.