After his move to French club OGC Nice was blocked by FIFA in the winter, former Newcastle United midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa is still without a club, but speaking to L’Equipe, Nice President Jean-Pierre Rivere is hopeful that a deal can be done this summer.
Asked if the former Marseille and Lyon player would be part of the squad next season, he said: “We continue to discuss it. He's a boy who has been much criticised for his past. Hatem, for me, has true human values, well beyond his talent.”
Ben Arfa started the season with Newcastle, but only featured for the under-21 side before making a loan move to Hull City. His loan deal with the Tigers was subsequently cancelled and Newcastle agreed to the termination of his contract.
The midfielder was paraded in front of the press with his Nice shirt in hand, even declaring he would have turned down a move to Real Madrid had they approached him.
However, the move was vetoed because he had already featured for two separate teams and you cannot be registered for three clubs in the same season. The French league doesn’t recognise youth games as being official, but FIFA deemed otherwise.
It was thought that the former France international may move to America or China to play again this season, but he remains without a club.
His career his already been full of incident and scandal, so it was no surprise that the move to Nice wasn’t without controversy. Both Nice and the player will hope that this summer is more straight-forward, but with Ben Arfa, nothing it seems is ever simple.