As sad as Newcastle United fans were to see Hatem Ben Arfa go over the summer, even they will probably admit that he has not really been missed.
Admittedly, things were far from rosy early on, with pressure mounting on Alan Pardew and questions being asked of a number of his recruitment decisions.
He has, however, turned things around in spectacular style, with the Magpies currently on a run of six straight wins in all competitions.
Finally, a club boasting undoubted quality within its ranks is playing to its potential and enjoying the kind of Premier League standing it feels it deserves.
Unfortunately for those currently out of favour, or away from St James’ Park entirely, 'an out of sight, out of mind' attitude has been adopted.
That would appear to sound the death knell for Ben Arfa’s career on Tyneside.
He is due to be out of contract next summer and is currently stumbling his way towards the free agent pool at the KC Stadium.
The Frenchman is an infuriating character to watch at times – a man blessed with match-winning ability, but seemingly incapable of maintaining those standards for a prolonged period of time.
The same can probably be said for one of those drafted in to replace him at Newcastle, with fellow countryman Remy Cabella yet to display the kind of form which convinced Pardew to pay Montpellier a reported £12 million for his services.
He has, however, still offered more to his respective cause than Ben Arfa, as the Opta statistics below show.
|Team||Goal Assist||Goals||Total Scoring Att||Accurate Cross||Total Contest||Accurate Pass||Appearances||Mins Played|
|Hatem Ben Arfa||Hull City||0||0||3||5||17||107||7||349|
Cabella has already managed more than twice as many Premier League minutes than Ben Arfa this season, with Hull City seemingly as reluctant as Newcastle to take a regular punt on an enigmatic talent.
The Magpies man has also provided one assist, spent considerably longer on the ball and taken on almost three times the number of dribbles as his compatriot at the Tigers.
Pardew will feel as though there is plenty more to come from his big-money summer acquisition as well, with Cabella having shown during his time in Ligue 1 that he is capable of weighing in with a useful goal return and is certainly more of a team player than the man who used to fill wing boots on Tyneside.