This is one of the stranger stories in The Premier League right now. And Newcastle tend to be quite good at those.
But one of the enigmas of the last few seasons has been Hatem Ben Arfa.
He would be described by some as one of the best players in the Newcastle squad – certainly one of the most talented. In spates, over the last few years, he has been almost unplayable.
But he has had more than his fair share of niggling injuries and he’s clearly fallen out of favour with Alan Pardew after spending much time on the bench over the last season.
Nevertheless, Newcastle’s treatment of the player seems to suggest that there is something else which is keeping him out of the team.
The Daily Mail reported last night that the player has now been stripped of his number 10 jersey.
With the team struggling so badly in the second half of last season it’s anyone’s guess why he didn’t play more of a starring role – this is, after all a player who can change games in an instant.
But there has to be something else going on behind the scenes because Newcastle seem to want nothing to do with the player.
We imagine it either comes down to a misdemeanour which hasn’t been made public, a generally bad attitude to training, or the player refusing to move and milking the club for the high wages that he’s on.
Either way, you would imagine that there is no way back for Ben Arfa at his club now.
Latest reports suggest that Everton could make a move for the player. The Shields Gazette says:
Everton boss admits he wants winger as Ben Arfa linked with move
…he has been linked with a move to Everton after Toffees manager Roberto Martinez admitted he wants to sign a winger before the transfer window shuts.
“It’s only one position (we need),” Martinez said. “We want to take as long as we can to see how quickly we can get the injured players back to being available for the first-team.
We have always like Ben Arfa and think that he’d be a good signing for Everton. For the player, a change could prove as good as the rest that he has been enduring for the last year or so.
Newcastle fans: has Ben Arfa been treated unfairly or is he doing something badly wrong? Everton fans: keen?