Hatem Ben Arfa could be on his way out from French side Paris Saint-Germain just after a year he made the move to the French capital, according to reports.
And now sections of Newcastle United fans are pleading manager Rafael Benitez to bring the Frenchman back to St. James’ Park in the summer in the next transfer window.
Ben Arfa spent four years in the Tyneside, having joined on loan in the summer of 2010, before making the move permanent soon after. He was a part of the Magpies squad for four years from then on, making 86 appearances, in which he went on to score 14 goals, before a fall out with then-Newcastle manager Alan Pardew saw him leave the club in 2014. Having firstly joined Premier League side Hull City on loan for the 2014-15 season, he then permanently moved to French side Nice in the summer of 2015.
He impressed heavily upon returning to his homeland, scoring 18 goals in 37 appearances for Nice and his performances earned him a move to PSG last summer. However, since switching to the French giants, Ben Arfa has struggled and has found his game time extremely limited.
The 30-year old has made 31 appearances for Unai Emery’s PSG this season, and only 9 of these 31 matches have been from the start. He has managed to score just 2 times and has 6 assists to his name.
Ben Arfa has time and again been played out of position by Emery, with the former Sevilla manager asking the Frenchman to lead the line in the early parts of the season. This, combined with a lack of regular playing time has caused Ben Arfa to consider his future with the Les Parisiens.
The mercurial attacker has now been linked with a move back to England. The Saints are managed by Claude Puel, under whom Ben Arfa enjoyed success at Nice last season.
However, Ben Arfa remains a largely popular figure in Tyneside and at his best, he was regarded as one of the most exciting players to have graced the St. James’ Park in recent times. He would definitely add some fire and creativity to the Newcastle attack.
Newcastle are currently on top of the EFL Championship and look set for a return to the Premier League for next season. Lack of top-flight football could have been a bone of contention for Ben Arfa to consider a return, but with promotion almost a surety, it shouldn’t be a problem. The amount of positivity that it would create around the St. James’ Park, to see a former star return, could provide a lift to the entire team.
Go for it, Rafa!
Remember this goal Newcastle fans?