Five possible destinations for bewildering Hatem Ben Arfa
Since arriving in the Premier League in 2010, Hatem Ben Arfa has both dazzled defenders with his effortless abilities and frustrated fans with inconsistent displays.
The flamboyant Frenchman signed for Newcastle United (12/1 with Coral for a top six finish) at the beginning of the 2010/11 campaign, winning over the hearts of the Geordie faithful, and becoming an instant fan favourite on Tyneside.
However, despite his terrific talents, the exciting enigma has his fatal flaws, with his loan spell at the Tigers coming to an abrupt end after just four months.
Hull City manager Steve Bruce admitted that he had no idea where the menacing Magpie was and later declared that he would not be returning to the club, after the player went missing.
“Sometimes transfers don’t work, especially with a loan deal,” said Bruce. “I’m disappointed more than anything. We brought him in on a wave of publicity and there has been no fall-out or slanging match.
“His views of the game are different to mine. At any club you need to have a certain work ethic to get in the team. That’s the frustrating thing. I hope Hatem takes in what I’ve had to say to him because his talent is there for all to see. But talent without hard work means you won’t live up to your potential.”
Alan Pardew also ruled out his return to Newcastle, leaving the maverick midfielder’s career under question. Coral outline the clubs that could potentially sign the contentious attacker.
This wonderful wingman has become one of the Premier League’s most controversial characters, striking 13 goals in 76 outings for parent club Newcastle, before being offloaded to Hull on a season-long loan deal.
Paul Lambert’s struggling Villa side are lacking the capabilities of a player like Ben Arfa, currently occupying 13th spot in the table.
The West Midlands outfit have registered only 10 goals this season, the fewest in the top four divisions, and their worst-ever top-flight return after 16 matches. Ben Arfa’s attacking threat would be gladly welcomed at Villa Park and could reignite the Frenchman’s career in England.
Brilliant Ben Arfa captivated St James’ Park for four seasons, and his talents on the wing or behind the frontman could help Nigel Pearson’s Foxes to climb further up the table. Leicester lie rock-bottom of the Premier League table, after suffering four consecutive defeats, proving they lack some attacking prowess. Ben Arfa may provide some much needed flair in the Foxes squad.
After four years starting his career off at Lyon, bagging seven goals in 64 outings, Ben Arfa then moved to Marseille, where he scored nine times in 63 appearances.
With a vast amount of experience in Ligue 1, Lyon could choose to take the risk and re-sign the fiery Frenchman, offering him another chance to rediscover the form that earned him a massive reputation in his home country.
With Hubert Fournier’s French side sporting several ageing stars in key areas (Steed Malbranque being a fine example), Ben Arfa could offer Lyon a new dimension and a top attacking outlet to replace the veteran.
One of the French division’s top teams, Monaco would be a huge step for the French attacker, but this term Leonardo Jardim’s men have struggled and are now on the edge of the European spots in sixth place.
Recent poor form can be put down to the decision to let star players James Rodriguez and Radamel Falcao leave in the summer, with the two forwards joining Real Madrid and Manchester United respectively.
Ben Arfa would have massive boots to fill at the faltering club, but as his performances in the past have shown, he has the ability just not the correct attitude.
Another option for the former France international would be to make the move to America, joining up with the MLS. Any of the top franchises would be happy to have such a quality player in their ranks, despite his arguable reputation.
Thierry Henry has recently retired from football, leaving a gap in the New York Red Bulls’ attacking options, while LA Galaxy have a growing history for signing Premier League players, including Robbie Keane and David Beckham.
Ben Arfa could fit in to one of the MLS teams, where his pacey wingplay would benefit whoever is willing to take the gamble on his signature.