Report: Hatem Ben Arfa considering MLS switch

After seeing FIFA block him from appearing for Nice, former Newcastle United midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa is reported to be considering a move across the Atlantic.

Former Newcastle United midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa is weighing up a move to MLS after being refused international clearance to turn out for Nice, according to the Daily Mail.

Ben Arfa, 27, signed an 18-month deal with the French club after Newcastle terminated his contract last month, but was denied clearance having appeared in competitive games for two teams – the Magpies and Hull on loan – this season.

Nice contested the ruling on the basis that he had only represented Newcastle’s reserve team, but FIFA regulations regard “under-21 professional development league” matches as competitive fixtures.

His deal with the Ligue 1 outfit cancelled as a result, the France international’s lawyer had hinted that he could retire following the decision, but Ben Arfa has since rubbished those claims, insisting he would even “go to the North Pole” to find a team.

“Today I’m finished with Nice,” he told Nice’s official website at his press conference. “But maybe that won’t be for ever. I want to thank everyone here – it’s a real regret that I can’t continue, but sometimes you have to accept it and move on.

“Today I’ll try to be positive and see what I can do. On Monday I was on the floor but coming in to training today has made me feel better. Now I just have to do the best I can for the future.

“The solution may be to go abroad. Would I go to Russia? I’m ready to go to the North Pole just to play football again. But for now I can’t really speculate – I just have to think.”

One escape route for Ben Arfa, however, could be MLS, with the league’s schedule operating to a winter calendar which FIFA makes allowances for.

With the 2015 season starting in March, the Mail have claimed that it’s an option in consideration for the creative attacker, although whether a team will want to take him on at this point is up for debate.

Blessed with a huge amount of talent, the former Marseille man has continued to see attitude problems hamper his promising career over recent campaigns, and that might be enough to cause potential suitors to think twice when a sizeable wage package is involved in the deal.

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