Despite Hatem Ben Arfa recently suggesting he will stay at Newcastle United, the winger looks certain to make it to the very top in the near future.
Here are five reasons why The Magpies' stuttering campaign could kick-start the unfulfilled potential of the brilliant Frenchman.
The former Lyon prodigy can bewilder virtually any defender in the world with his technical brilliance and creativity on the ball. Adept with both feet, Ben Arfa is constantly keeping defenders guessing with his erratic dribbling movements and distinct ability to hurt both right and left footed markers.
The Frenchman is one of the most dangerous and exciting individuals in the Premier League when in-form and fully fit.
2. Speed & dribbling ability
Pace is an essential attribute for a winger, and the 26-year-old has speed in abundance. However, the fleet-footed wide man certainly does not over-rely on his athleticism. Coupling pace and deft ball control is a sure-fire recipe for attacking danger, and the speedy France international is capable of causing significant worry to opposition defenders.
Hatem Ben Arfa has received remarkably high praise from Alan Pardew during his recent absence from the Newcastle side, likening his playing style and importance to the brilliant Luis Suarez.
Pardew told reporters: “Missing him is a bit like taking Suarez out of Liverpool.
“He’s that special player who can create something and we’ve really missed it."
Kind words from Pardew considering he has the likes of Cissé, Cabaye and Gutiérrez in his talented squad.
Predominantly a right midfielder, Ben Arfa is capable of playing right across the attacking midfield areas and even up front – where he played as a youngster. He arguably his most deadly playing on the right as an inverted winger, cutting in on his left to either pass, shoot, or lay it off to a marauding fullback.
The flexibility of the Frenchman would be highly useful to most sides the modern game where many top teams line up in a 4-2-3-1 formation – harbouring all three of the Newcastle man’s preferred positions.
Newcastle is struggling to replicate the stellar season they enjoyed last year, currently sitting only five points outside the relegation zone. The Magpies look the least likely to face the drop out of the seven clubs battling for survival, but if they are relegated this campaign, the Tyneside club may look to offload a handful of their most expensive stars.
Ben Arfa is certainly under the umbrella as one of Newcastle’s highest-earners and he could be one of the first to go if the club do find themselves in the Championship next season. Subsequently, we could see a host of top-flight European clubs vying to snap up the world-class the Frenchman.
The flamboyant 26-year-old is on the cusp of entering his peak as a footballer – so now is the ideal time for the wide-man to step up and compete for a starting role at a top European club. His talent has always been obvious, but his persistent injury and disciplinary issues have hampered his ability to shine on the big stage.
But Hatem Ben Arfa looks to have surpassed his previous problems and is finally ready to make his unleash his full potential – but we will have to wait and see whether or not Europe’s big boys agree.
No disrespect to the French Ligue 1, but it would be a true waste if a player of his quality ended his career without succeeding outside of his native France.
Could Ben Arfa succeed at clubs the size of Chelsea or Manchester United? Share your opinion on the future of the Newcastle star in the comments below!
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