After such a poor Premier League campaign, Newcastle could find it difficult to hang on to some of our best players this summer, but it will take big money for Mike Ashley to agree to sell some of our top stars like Yohan Cabaye and Ben Arfa.
Ben Arfa – with French squad last summer
Alan Pardew had said that late last season – that if we didn’t do well in the league some of the top players may get itchy feet, and certainly our top players didn’t sign up to be in a relegation battle.
And as a potential prelude to things that may happen in the summer, Ben Arfa is at the Clairefontaine Academy recovering from his hamstring problem, and he was asked in an interview with the Le Parisien if he would like to play for Paris Saint-Germain:
“I am under contract with Newcastle and I’m fine,” “First, I must save my club. I only think of that. Help my team and my coach, with whom I get along great. We really want to fight for him.”
“The fans are great too. Once we have saved the club, you never know. To sign for PSG would be a childhood dream. If there is a proposal, I will study it with interest.” “If there is a proposal. The ‘if’ is important.”
“I should be able to resume playing in mid-February.” “I rehabilitate from Monday to Friday at the medical center at Clairefontaine. Morale is good because I’m in Paris and with family.”
“But when I see the games on television, it is not easy. The team needs all its players.”
In these interviews they always try to lead players into saying things they regret, and ask questions like the above – would you like to play for France’s richest club at the moment, and it’s sometimes difficult for players to say things that are politically correct – although Ben Arfa says a lot of good things about Newcastle and Alan Pardew in particular.
Our last 16 games of the season are important, because if we can make a recovery and finish in a decent position in the league table, then this season will have been a hiccup, caused by not having a strong enough squad last September.
But we can do a lot better next season – and we still expect as many as three new players to arrive before February rolls around – not including Debuchy and Remy.
You can also reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org