HULL CITY were working beyond last night’s transfer deadline in an attempt to complete Hatem Ben Arfa’s season-long loan from Newcastle United.
The 11pm deadline passed without Hull officials having completed the necessary paperwork to confirm Ben Arfa’s switch to the KC Stadium until the end of the season, even though the winger travelled to Humberside earlier in the evening in order to push through the deal.
However, having filed an initial agreement with the Premier League, the Tigers successfully appealed for a two-hour extension to enable them to complete the relevant registration documents.
Provided they went through okay, Ben Arfa’s departure from St James’ Park will be confirmed this morning, effectively ending his time as a Newcastle player.
“We’re expecting it to be done,” said Hull boss Steve Bruce, shortly after the deadline. “We’ve just been given an extension to try to get it done. We’re hopeful we can get him over the line.
“The Ben Arfa deal is the one that has come in the last few hours. When we decided to let (George) Boyd go (to Burnley) we decided that Ben Arfa could be an exciting addition. Can we reignite him again?
“There’s no question that he’s a fantastically gifted footballer. It hasn’t really happened for him at Newcastle, but these things happen at football clubs.
“It’s a big challenge to us all. We wanted to come here and play and get his career kick-started again. There’s no doubt he’s got fantastic ability – as everyone in the North-East knows.”
While yesterday’s transfer was a loan move, which means Ben Arfa will not be eligible to face Newcastle this season, the fact he has already entered the final year of his Magpies contract means his time on Tyneside is effectively at an end.
Newcastle also loaned Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa to Italian side Roma on what proved a frustrating transfer-deadline day for the club’s supporters, with no new arrivals to add to the nine players who had already moved to St James’ Park this summer.
The failure to sign either a striker or a centre-half was perhaps to be expected, although with the opening four games of the season having exposed a lack of creativity and firepower, it had been hoped that a new centre-forward would be recruited.
Similarly, Ben Arfa’s departure was hardly a major surprise given that the Frenchman had been frozen out of the first-team picture entirely by Alan Pardew, but his switch to Hull City nevertheless came out of the blue.
With the winger having turned down an opportunity to join Turkish club Besiktas over the weekend, senior Newcastle officials spent most of yesterday attempting to move Ben Arfa to a club in France.
When those actions came to nothing, the club had resigned themselves to the prospect of the 27-year-old remaining on Tyneside until January, but Bruce signalled his interest in a loan move midway through the afternoon.
Ben Arfa was instructed to travel to Humberside, and could well join the Tigers permanently next summer as a free agent if his initial spell at the KC Stadium proves a success.
Yanga-Mbiwa was given permission to travel to Italy yesterday morning and signed a season-long loan with Roma a couple of hours before the 11pm deadline.
Roma are understood to have paid a €1m loan fee in order to secure the centre-half’s services until next summer, and have agreed a potential €6m fee for a permanent transfer further down the line.
Newcastle signed Yanga-Mbiwa from Montpellier for £8.5m in January 2013, but the Frenchman has never really been able to establish himself in the Magpies’ first team.
He featured sporadically in the first half of last season, but in hindsight, last September’s 3-2 defeat at Everton proved to be the beginning of the end of his involvement under Pardew.
Yanga-Mbiwa was withdrawn with Newcastle 3-0 down at half-time at Goodison Park, and only made 11 more Premier League starts in the final seven months of the season.
The Magpies did not make a final attempt to sign Alexandre Lacazette from Lyon, and were never in the market to recruit Danny Welbeck, Jermain Defoe or Matija Nastasic, despite being linked with all three players over the course of the day.