Newcastle United have fined Hatem Ben Arfa for returning for preseason overweight, according to French paper La Parisien.
Manager Alan Pardew is said to be furious that Ben Arfa reported to the club 1.5kgs over his required weight limit, with the Frenchmen being fined €2,000 and banned from participating in training with the first-team, despite his claims that it was muscle which he gained during the offseason.
The 27-year-old has now been told to stay with the reserves in England as the rest of the squad heads off to tour New Zealand this week, as they attempt to offload their enigmatic midfielder this summer.
A fan favourite, Ben Arfa first joined Newcastle on loan from Marseille for the 2010-11 campaign, but would break both his tibia and fibia just two months into his spell in the North East.
Nevertheless, he showed enough promise for Pardew to opt to sign him on a permanent deal for the following season, going on to make 82 appearances from 2011 to 2014, as a core member of the club’s growing French contingent.
Having received criticism in the past for his weight, however, this latest incident would appear to be the last straw for Newcastle, with the arrivals of fellow Frenchmen Remy Cabella and Emmanuel Riviere in the past few days seemingly suggesting that there is little future for Ben Arfa at the club.
With a year left to run on his deal, the former Lyon prospect’s agent, Michel Ouazine, has revealed that the Magpies have accepted an offer from an unnamed Ukrainian club for his client’s signature, but that it is still possible he could decide to remain with the side until the winter transfer window in 2015
While numerous French players have found Newcastle such a prosperous destination in recent years, Ben Arfa’s stay appears to have turned into somewhat of a nightmare, and an imminent exit looks to be the best solution for both parties.
Once a highly-touted youngster, having starred in Ligue 1 as a teenager before making his national team debut aged 20, the 13-times capped international has seen his career stagnate in the Premier League and, despite his undoubted ability, once has to wonder whether we have seen the best of him.