Hatem Ben Arfa will have one year left on his contract at Newcastle in the summer, and it’s a good question as to whether Newcastle will sell him in the summer, rather than lose him for nothing in July of next year, when he will become a free agent.
Ben Arfa – is his time up at Newcastle?
The other thing that could happen is that he gets a new contract, but with the inconsistent way he has played this season, and his inability to nail down a starting place at Newcastle, that may now be unlikely.
Alan Pardew has issued an honest assessment of the player today:
“In the short-term we’ve given him a fitness program because in the last few games he played for us he didn’t play very well by his own admission.”
“His confidence is a little low, and his fitness was a bit low for whatever reason. He missed six days with a family illness so we’ve got some extra work into him and he looks a little bit more confident.”
“He’s not ready to play and start this game but he will be on the bench on Saturday. He needs a good finish to the season and he’s aware of that for a number of reasons.”
“I don’t think I’ve ever shut the door with any player. I have been accused of that in the past but that’s never been truthful. I’ve not lost patience with him.”
“But he has to gain the trust of not just me, but of our players and our fans that he’s the real deal if he’s going to play.” “On the performance at Fulham the two strikers are under a little bit of pressure.”
“Hatem is in a pool of players that you can ask is he going to be a success here. If it is, then they stay. If it’s not then we’ll move them on.”
“The bottom line with Hatem is this – don’t confuse that I have a problem with his work rate. If he’s getting assists and goals, then that balances itself out. “
“If he isn’t then it isn’t balancing up. He needs to get that balance right.”
There were reports in the last couple of days that some Newcastle players were not satisfied with Ben Arfa’s work-rate on the field, and with his unwillingness at times to track back to help out the defense.
And of course when he’s playing well and scoring goals at the other end, that deficiency in Ben Arfa’s game is overlooked, as the manager rightly points out.
If Newcastle were a better team and higher up in the league table, it would be easier to accommodate a player like Ben Arfa, who has always been a potential match-winner and still is, and he has amazing skills and technique.
But we are not a top side, and it could be that this is the player’s last season on Tyneside, and if he does go in the summer, we would expect it to be at a club that plays regularly in the Champions League.
And that will not go down well with a number of Newcastle fans, who will say that Ben Arfa has not been managed well enough on Tyneside, and that we didn’t get the best out of the 27 year-old.
What do you think?