Hatem Ben Arfa has really come into his own at Newcastle United in recent weeks, scoring sensational goal after sensational goal and starting to significantly influence games from the right hand side of midfield. Today there a few football news stories that emerged surrounding Ben Arfa, one good, a couple not so good. So do you want the good news or the bad news first?
Well, let’s start with the good news surrounding Hatem Ben Arfa. The 25-year-old has been named in Laurent Blanc’s preliminary France squad for Euro 2012, where he joins Newcastle teammate Yohan Cabaye. Blanc has taken the strange step of naming his foreign-based players first and if Ben Arfa does make the final squad he’ll be looking to earn his ninth cap in France’s Euro 2012 opener against England.
This is what Blanc told Eurosport about the inclusion of Hatem: “We have monitored him and can count on him for the knockout stages of the Euro. Sadly after a dispute with Marseille, when I told him to be calm, he left for Newcastle where he suffered a terrible injury. I have watched him play again and watched him recuperating at Clairefontaine, he took some time to come back but his talent was always there and always will be, and he has shown more maturity this season.”
So that’s the good news for Ben Arfa, but the bad news as far as Newcastle are concerned, is that he’s being linked with a move to Serie A. The Mirror is reporting that champions Juventus and Inter Milan are both interested in taking the Frenchman to Italy, which isn’t really a surprise given his form in the Premier League. You’d like to think that as Hatem has spent a lot of his time at Newcastle on the treatment table, that he owes Alan Pardew more time at the club for sticking by him and giving him a chance when many wouldn’t.
A personal blow for Ben Arfa is also that his advisor Simon Stainrod has had his licence suspended by the FA. He worked as a translator for Hatem when he joined Newcastle and is a close friend of Ben Arfa. He has greatly helped the Frenchman settle into the north-east and the former QPR striker may now be forced to cease work in England.
So, a couple of bits of bad news regarding Hatem Ben Arfa and one good one. It would be good to see him line up alongside Cabaye for France in Euro 2012, but if he does do well interest from Italy might just become even stronger.