Ben Arfa set for permanent Newcastle exit - six months too soon?

St James Park

The tempestuous attacker is thought to be close to securing a deal with Nice, with the St James’ Park side ‘terminating’ his contract.

Newcastle’s Hatem Ben Arfa is said to be close to a return to France, with the attacker reportedly close to agreed a deal with Ligue 1 side Nice.

The Telegraph claim that the 27-year-old has agreed ‘in principle’ to sign for the Allianz Riviera outfit, while French newspaper Nice Matin have stated that Newcastle have agreed to ‘terminate’ his contract - allowing him to leave for free.

The former Marseille wideman showed superlative skill during his time in the North East and his incredible individual displays won over the St James’ crowd in his early days at the club.

However, following a fall-out with Alan Pardew, Ben Arfa found himself frozen out at Newcastle and has since had an unproductive and unsuccessful loan spell at Hull.

Ben Arfa’s contract is due to expire in the summer, but it is believed that his time in England is set to come to an end during the January transfer window.

However, with Pardew having left Newcastle to take the vacant managerial role with Crystal Palace, was there scope for the club’s eventual new manager to bring Ben Arfa back to St James?

There is no doubting the player’s ability, as he has shown over the years that he has the technique and skill to slice defences to ribbons if in the mood.

The problem has been his attitude, with a reluctance to work hard for the team and off-field issues stifling this troubled genius.

Newcastle fans will remember Ben Arfa for the moments of magic he brought to the club, but many will feel that the player’s considerable potential was not met during his four years in England.

Register for NEWCASTLE UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch