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Why Ben Arfa exit would suit both club and player

The Frenchman has cut a frustrated figure at his inability to nail down a first-team place and may seek opportunities elsewhere in the summer.

Reports emanating from Italy have suggested Hatem Ben Arfa could be a target for Serie A outfit Roma, as the Chronicle suggests, with the Frenchman supposedly keen on the move to reignite a stalling career.

Ben Arfa has been restricted to an impact substitute role during the last 12 months at St James's Park, where the early promise he showed has gone largely unfulfilled since his move from Marseille four years ago.

He has reached something of a fork in the road on Tyneside after losing out on a first-team spot under manager Alan Pardew, whose own future remains shrouded in doubt.

That may yet prove to be the saving grace for Ben Arfa, whose demise has come due to Pardew's lack of trust in the Frenchman on the flanks.

Pardew has opted for the more defensive-minded Moussa Sissoko as an auxiliary wideman to fill the void left by the skilful but cavalier Ben Arfa, with the Magpies chief prioritising a reliable player in both areas of the field to one whose flair masks other flaws in his game.

It was only last month that Pardew informed the 27-year-old he must earn the respect of his fellow team-mates, who had bemoaned his lacklustre work-rate and discipline.

It should be noted that Ben Arfa has struggled for fitness just as much as he has for form, a key factor behind his demotion to the substitutes bench.

The Frenchman has been left in no doubt that he must start pulling his weight in training and in matches to secure his future at the club but the carrot of Champions League football, and a fresh start no less, in Italy must surely hold some level of appeal for a disgruntled Ben Arfa.

With Newcastle having just pride to play for in their remaining three games, Pardew may be tempted to experiment with his lineup and include his maverick playmaker in the hope he can re-discover his early form in a Newcastle shirt.

On his day, Ben Arfa is an outstanding performer. He has a vast array of trickery and can be unplayable for defenders but all too often fails to produce tangible production in the final third.

If Ben Arfa needs any form of encouragement, he should look no further than Gervinho, who has been revitalised by a move to Italy with Roma and looks to be enjoying his football once more after flopping at Arsenal.

To enjoy a similar renaissance, Ben Arfa might just have to escape St James Park.

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