Ben Arfa has been left out of Newcastle’s pre-season fixtures so far with speculation mounting that the Frenchman will be moved on during the transfer window after a falling out with Magpies boss Alan Pardew.
Since returning from his summer break, the 27-year-old has trained with Newcastle’s development squad and was reportedly fined for being 1.5kg overweight.
Ben Arfa’s relationship with Pardew broke down towards the end of last season after the pair clashed twice in the wake of defeats to Manchester United and Stoke City, and it appears the attacking midfielder is not in the Magpies manager’s plan for the coming season.
The French international, who has one year left on his current deal at St James’ Park, has been linked with Ukrainian side Dnipro, AC Milan and former club Lyon, but so far a move has failed to materialise.
His agent, Michel Ouazine, insists Ben Arfa is happy to see out the remainder of his contract on Tyneside, despite claiming the midfielder feels ‘humiliated’ by his treatment.
“We don’t know what the problem is,” Ouazine said. “Pardew in the past has said Hatem was extraordinary.
“Hatem has done everything for Newcastle, every effort has been made to discuss the problem. We are in a situation where there doesn’t seem to be a solution.
“He is simply doing his job: he trains well, he enjoys training with the reserves where he has a great coach in Peter Beardsley.
“It’s unfair and humiliating. We will challenge the fine. We asked Newcastle to give us the player’s physical records.
“Hatem went on vacation with a personal trainer, he has worked to prepare for this season. That 1.5 kg? Yes, it is a pound of muscle and 500 grams of fat.
“He lost two per cent body fat. We therefore challenge the fine.
“Hatem doesn’t have to leave. He can go on a free after his contract is over – six months, or a year, this is not a problem. Who knows how long Pardew will be at Newcastle. In two months, he may not be here. Hatem love this club, he is idolised by fans.
“Hatem will remain professional and is working hard. He prefers a return to Lyon, but it is not economically feasible. Lyon is his first club, so there is a level of attachment. He loves Bernard Lacombe.
“However, for me, it is very difficult financially – Newcastle want a lot of money for Hatem.”
Newcastle head to Germany for their second pre-season tour today with Remy Cabella set to travel, but Daryl Janmaat will stay behind along with fellow Dutchman Tim Krul.