Closing in on Ben Arfa deal

16 August 2010 10:19
MARSEILLE are expected to finally give Newcastle United the go-ahead to complete the season-long loan signing of Hatem Ben Arfa in the next few days.

The French champions' president Jean-Claude Dassier has spent the weekend pondering his next move after the Les Bleus international effectively went on strike.

Ben Arfa has been angling to join Newcastle for the best part of two weeks and was furious after learning that Marseille had put the blocks on his move by changing their demands.

But the 23-year-old's decision to head for Tyneside on Friday afternoon after refusing to train with Didier Deschamps' squad has put Marseille in to a difficult position.

Ben Arfa said: I will not return to La Commanderie (Marseille's training ground).

It's over. I am ready to not play this season. I have my pride, my dignity. I am not a stop-gap. Over time, people will see that I was right. Just because we are paid, does not mean we are slaves.

Ben Arfa claims Newcastle had agreed to meet Marseille's original demands, which are believed to be an £800,000 loan fee with an option for a £5m transfer next summer built in.

However, Marseille are then thought to have asked for a straight permanent transfer in light of their decision to sell striker Mamdou Niang to Fenerbahce for £8m, reducing the need to lose one of their forwards.

Ben Arfa said: Newcastle have committed themselves to give Marseille what they were asking for, which is a loan with an option to buy me.

The player's stance angered Dassier although, after calming down over a weekend in which Marseille lost 3-2 to Valenciennes, sources in the south of France claim that he is now ready to tell Ben Arfa to stay in Newcastle.

The attacking midfielder hopes to travel to Old Trafford tonight to watch Newcastle open their Premier League season against Manchester United.

He has not trained with Marseille since leaving the France squad last Wednesday, when he scored a stunning longrange goal within minutes of his introduction.

Source: Northern_Echo