Belfast Telegraph

Ben Arfa: Toon can fight for title

Hatem Ben Arfa is confident Newcastle can better last season's top-five finish and even have a say in the title race.

The 25-year-old France international played a key role in the Magpies' surge up the table last time around and is looking for further improvement when the new campaign gets underway.

Manager Alan Pardew is yet to land one of his main summer transfer targets, but has been boosted by the fact that none of his stars have, to date, been lured away from Tyneside, and Ben Arfa told the Evening Chronicle: "Maybe if we feel very good, we can finish between fourth and first. Why not? Why can we not say we could be champions?"

He added: "All the players have stayed here. I think we have to have confidence as we have very good players.

"Maybe? Anything is possible. We can challenge for it. We have good players, a good stadium and great supporters.

"We have to have confidence. I believe we can do what I say."

Ben Arfa himself was one of the men linked with other clubs during the closed season, along with Tim Krul, Cheick Tiote, Yohan Cabaye, Papiss Cisse and Demba Ba.

However, he insists he is happy at the club which gave him his chance in English football, and stood by him after he suffered a double leg-fracture during a season-long loan spell.

He said: "I very happy to stay here. I'm happy to be back at Newcastle again. I love this club and the supporters. I love them and they like me."

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