27 year-old Hatem Ben Arfa is due to return to Newcastle this week after having treatment at the France Clairefontaine Football Academy just outside of Paris, and he will be assessed to see if he is ready to play at the Emirates on Monday night.
Ben Arfa – in action at Stoke City
With Newcastle sinking like a rock these days the last three games have become important for a few reasons – one is we have a target to at least finish in the top ten, and if we don’t and don’t do well over the last three games of the season, that could even be curtains for manager Alan Pardew.
And there have been reports over the last few games that Alan Pardew and Ben Arfa have no exactly see eye to eye and some of the experienced players at the club don’t think he has earned his place on the bench – because he doesn’t work enough for the side.
Ben Arfa has been in Paris since last Thursday, and most of our French players do return to the Academy just outside Paris for treatment.
With Ben Arfa’s contract running out in fourteen months Newcastle will be forced into a decision on the striker – whether to sell him, give him a new contract or potentially take up a one year option on his contract – if one exists.
But Newcastle cannot make a decision on the mercurial one until it’s clear who will be the Newcastle manager at the end of the season.
Alan Pardew’s record this year has been simply horrendous with only four wins in the last 18 games and 13 defeats.
So it seems that Mike Ashley will need to make a decision at the end of the season, as to whether he persists with Alan Pardew, or whether he decides to make a change and bring in a new manager – like Davide Moyes – as just one example.