Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 26 July 2014

Ben Arfa facing uncertain future

Hatem Ben Arfa could be on his way out of Newcastle

Hatem Ben Arfa looks to be facing an ever bleaker future at Newcastle after slipping further down the pecking order.

The 27-year-old France international will not travel to New Zealand with the first-team squad this weekend after training away from the main group since his return for pre-season.

Reports from France have suggested Ben Arfa has been fined for arriving back on Tyneside overweight - a charge he has denied - although the club was keeping its own counsel on the matter on Thursday.

However, having been discarded by manager Alan Pardew at the end of last season at a time when his talent could have proved more than useful amid questions over his attitude, the former Marseille midfielder appears to be surplus to requirements.

The arrivals of Siem de Jong and Remy Cabella have increased the pool of attacking midfield talent available to Pardew and it has been an open secret for some time that Newcastle are open to offers.

As yet, none have been forthcoming and Ben Arfa could spend the final year of his contract kicking his heels in the reserves.

That would be a huge waste of a natural ability which has made him a fans' favourite during his four seasons to date on Tyneside, and at one point saw him linked with a £20million switch to Liverpool.

However, for every stunning goal or assist, there have been many more ineffectual displays, and a deterioration of relationships behind the scenes suggests divorce one way or another is inevitable.

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