Belfast Telegraph

Newcastle sever ties with Ben Arfa

Newcastle have released French forward Hatem Ben Arfa ahead of his move to Nice.

The Ligue 1 club announced on Saturday they had reached a deal in principle with the 27-year-old, who failed to make an impact on loan at Hull this season before returning to Tyneside.

Ben Arfa is due to have a medical in France on Monday before joining Nice on undisclosed terms, but will make the move as a free agent.

A Newcastle statement said: " Newcastle United can today confirm that Hatem Ben Arfa and the club have reached an agreement to terminate the contract between both parties with immediate effect by mutual consent. Newcastle United wishes Hatem all the best for his future."

Ben Arfa joined Newcastle from Marseille in 2010, initially on loan before signing permanently the following summer despite an injury-ruined first season in England.

He became a fans' favourite after a string of spectacular goals and inspirational performances in 2012 and continued to show flashes of his best form.

But his attitude and fitness came under question and he joined Hull on loan in September of this season.

He made only a handful of appearances for the East Yorkshire club, failing to score and missing a glorious chance in their defeat to Tottenham, and he was substituted in the first half of the defeat to Manchester United.

He returns to Ligue 1, a competition he won four times as a young player with Lyon and once more with Marseille in 2010, when he also helped the club win the Coupe de la Ligue.

Nice are 11th in the table but only three points clear of the relegation zone, and will look to their new signing to spark an attack which has mustered 21 goals in 19 games this season.

Ben Arfa has won 13 caps for France since his goalscoring debut against the Faroe Islands in 2007.

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