According to a recent report from Foot365 (via Sports Mole), West Ham are interested in signing Hatem Ben Arfa this summer. The 31-year-old left French giants Paris Saint-Germain at the expiration of his contract last month after two years at the Parc des Princes, but with just 32 appearances to show for his time in the French capital, it wasn’t much of a surprise that they let him go earlier this summer.
And Manuel Pellegrini’s Hammers are reportedly keen on the £4.5 million-rated ace (as per Transfermarkt), yet Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle United should seek to join and indeed win the race to re-sign the winger, in what could prove to be a transfer masterstroke.
Ultimately, the 31-year-old became known to English football fans during his prior stint at St James’ Park between 2011 and 2015, what with the France international scoring 14 goals and laying on 16 assists in 86 appearances for the Magpies.
And while those are hardly ground-breaking figures, Ben Arfa produced many flashes of brilliance during his time on Tyneside to underline his undoubted talent, talent that could be honed in on to really get the best out of him.
In fact, Leicester boss Claude Puel was able to do just that while in charge of Nice a few years ago, as Ben Arfa produced the most consistent season of his career in netting 18 times and laying on seven assists for the French side during the 2015/16 campaign – thus, he is capable of producing the goods on a regular basis.
And in a Newcastle side looking for that extra bit of creativity and flair to really push on next season, Ben Arfa could be that man, and given he’d be available on a free, a deal could well be of interest to owner Mike Ashley.
The Magpies have already secured Kenedy on loan for another season, but with the future of Matt Ritchie far from certain and Jacob Murphy doing little to convince of his capabilities last term, there may be room for another attacker in Benitez’s squad.
And were Benitez able to get the very best out of Ben Arfa, like he was able to do with the likes of Kenedy, Jonjo Shelvey, and Ayoze Perez last season, the Frenchman could be a huge asset to the Newcastle manager next season.
In fact, joining and indeed winning the race for Ben Arfa ahead of West Ham could turn out to be a transfer masterstroke by the North East giants.
Newcastle fans… what do you think? Let us know!