Former Newcastle winger and French International Hatem Ben Arfa will play for Nice next season, and that has been confirmed by Nice President Jean-Pierre Riviere in a press conference while introducing their new manager Claude Puel.
Hatem Ben Arfa – while at Newcastle
The 28-year old had his contract canceled by Newcastle in January, after playing for the Newcastle U21 side and on loan at Hull City last season, but the move was not allowed to go through as both FIFA and French Football Federation blocked the move.
The move was not allowed because of a rule that a player can only for two clubs in a single season, but playing for the Newcastle U21 side was the controversy, because he never played for the Newcastle first team – it seemed an odd decision at best, but Nice lost their appeal on the ruling.
Nice President Jean-Pierre Riviere in a press conference said the following yesterday:
“Hatem Ben Arfa gave us his word. He has had offers but he’s stuck to his agreements.”
Other clubs were said to be interested in signing the very skillful forward.
Hatem Ben Arfa joined Newcastle on loan in August of 2010 from Marseilles, after he had fallen out with then manager Didier Deschamps, and was signed by Alan Pardew in January of the following year on a four and a half year deal.
The 13 times capped French International played well during his first three years at Newcastle, after suffering a horrific double fracture of his left lower leg at Manchester City, in early October of 2010.
But Ben Arfa never realized his full potential on Tyneside, when he was often compared to Lionel Messi as far as his talent was concerned.
But the player wasn’t disciplined, and had a reputation for not getting along with his managers.
However in early 2012, the Frenchman scored two of the greatest individual goals ever seen in the 123 year history of St. James Park.
Against Blackburn Rovers and then against Bolton, each time he took the ball from within his own half and beat several opposing players before slotting the ball into the back of the net.
Ben Arfa was blessed with amazing skill which was enormous – but will never reach his full potential.
That’s the big pity.