What impact would Montpellier star's Newcastle arrival have on Hatem Ben Arfa?

St James Park Four

Newcastle have been linked with a January move for Remy Cabella but could the playmaker's arrival be detrimental to a fellow Frenchman?

Montpellier's Remy Cabella could soon find himself washed up on these shores as rumours continue to link the diminutive Frenchman with a move to Newcastle.

The Magpies are hardly understocked when it comes to Ligue 1 imports, but Cabella seems the sort of luxury you can hardly turn your nose up at; as long as Alan Pardew and his transfer fixers can negotiate a good price for a player who has been the shining light in an otherwise largely ordinary Montpellier side.

Cabella has scored on six occasions this season, including an excellent brace against Lyon, but his side continue to languish in the lower echelons of the table due to a remarkable 11 draws from 19 games.

Despite the collective woe, Cabella's stock has only risen through a series of dominant performances; the 23-year-old tasked with pulling the creative strings in La Paillade's midfield engine-room.

Newcastle fans would be forgiven for questioning the wisdom in adding another orchestrator to the club's midfield when other positions could be addressed, particularly given the roles Yohan Cabaye and, perhaps more importantly, Hatem Ben Arfa play.

Ben Arfa has already found himself fall down the pecking order somewhat, with Pardew wary off the ill-discipline he poses from a defensive perspective, with Yoan Gouffran and Moussa Sissoko often preferred.

Ben Arfa's spell on Tyneside was perfectly encapsulated during the recent defeat to Arsenal when he emerged as a second-half substitute.

The former Marseille man beat Kieran Gibbs all-ends-up on a number of occasions, but his first meaningful effort seemed improbable from a tight angle - inevitably hitting the side netting - before he went for goal with a speculative strike from range, when his teammates were seemingly better placed for a ball into the box after a corner had broken down.

The phrase 'flatters to deceive' appears apt in this particular instance, as Ben Arfa has followed up match-winning contributions - most notably against Fulham and Aston Villa in successive games - with frustrating showings, such as his cameo against the Gunners.

And, in true cowboy and western style, a move for Cabella, coupled with Ben Arfa's inconsistent form, would more or less ensure that Newcastle ain't big enough for the both of them.

 

image: © jack_pickard

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