Ben Arfa relishing new challenge after being frozen out at Newcastle

Ben Arfa relishing new challenge after being frozen out at Newcastle

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First published in Sport The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Sports Reporter

DEPARTED Newcastle United midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa has revealed he is relishing a fresh start at Hull City after being frozen out at St James’ Park.

Ben Arfa signed a season-long loan deal at the KC Stadium with moments to spare after the Tigers were granted a two-hour extension to Monday night’s deadline.

The 27-year-old moves on after being frozen out on Tyneside and with one year left on his current deal, it is unlikely he will return to the club.

Ben Arfa’s relationship with Magpies boss Alan Pardew reached boiling point last season when the pair clashed in the wake of the 3-0 home defeat to Manchester United, and the France midfielder was subsequently made to train with the club’s youth team after reportedly returning for pre-season overweight.

Newcastle were keen to move the former Marseille man on before Monday’s deadline, but having rejected a move to Turkish club Besiktas it seemed he would stay on Tyneside.

However, a late enquiry from Hull saw the midfielder head down the A1 to the Tigers’ training ground, where he sealed a season-long loan move just in time.

Ben Arfa’s departure has split opinion on Tyneside with many feeling the attacker should be in the team, but the France international has revealed he is looking forward to a fresh start after Steve Bruce made it clear he wanted to sign him.

“Monday was a long day but I am very happy to be here,” Ben Arfa said.

“When I woke up on Monday morning, there was nothing on the cards. Then, in the afternoon the call came and everything happened very quickly after that. At 1am everything was complete and I was very happy.

“I’m very much looking forward to the start of a new challenge. The manager wants me here and that is very important.

“I’m looking forward to being back on the pitch after two months of only training.”

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