Are Newcastle at risk of losing their ace Frenchman in the summer?

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It’s difficult to know what to make of Newcastle’s Hatem Ben Arfa, especially given his lack of game time this season. But it’s even more challenging to get the measure of Alan Pardew – the man who has ensured that Ben Arfa’s chances simply haven’t been forthcoming this season. We all know about the Frenchman’s talent and there’s a good chance that Pardew risks losing him if he doesn’t start giving him more opportunities.

The trouble for Ben Arfa-acolytes is that Alan Pardew, the wily old fox has found himself vindicated in his decision to sideline the Frenchman by the fact that Newcastle are fifth place in the League. That’s a big improvement on last season’s 12th place finish and even if things don’t remain this way until the end of the year, the fans will stay behind Alan Pardew and with good reason.

Despite this, I’m just itching to see Hatem Ben Arfa deployed in the hole behind Newcastle’s double-Demba strike-force. Wouldn’t Ben Arfa’s technical brilliance be a genuine force for the Magpies were he to get regular opportunities? We all know how difficult it can be for players to be at their peak when they aren’t getting regular first team football. How good would Ben Arfa be were he given a real run in this ascendant Newcastle team? Will we ever know?

As things currently stand I wouldn’t be overly surprised if Ben Arfa chose to hand in a transfer request at the end of the season. He didn’t come to the Premier League to be a benchwarmer. He clearly has faith in his own ability and wants to be playing regular football – it’s just unclear at the moment whether Newcastle can provide him with this.

I do admit that he was poor against Brighton and a bit of a passenger against Blackburn. His main problem at the moment is that he doesn’t bring his teammates into the game as much as he really ought to. That’s to say, he’s a greedy little so-and-so and has a responsibility to his paymasters to pass the damn ball.

Whilst I want to see him get more games, unless he starts working harder for the team, it won’t happen. In this respect, Pardew’s unwillingness to play him is justified.  I do wonder, however, if it’s a decision that Newcastle fans will come to regret, should Ben Arfa move on in the summer.

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