Nice have officially confirmed that Hatem Ben Arfa will remain at the club next season under manager Claude Puel. He had been set to join Nice during the winter break but had to deal with an administrative mix-up before FIFA and the French football governing body. This issue blocked the transfer progress of the player.
Ben Arfa’s future has remained in limbo ever since, but it has now been revealed that he will officially make a return to his homeland following five seasons away in the Premier League. “Hatem ben Arfa gave us his word. He has had offers but he is stuck to his agreements,” said Nice president Jean-Pierre Rivere.
During the summer of 2014, Ben Arfa had played a game with Newcastle’s reserves before being loaned out to Premier League rivals Hull City. The move to Nice prevented Ben Arfa from playing in his first season, due to a rule that a player can only play for two clubs in a single season. With any deal for Nice then put on hold, it was expected that Ben Arfa would end up elsewhere this coming season.
Nice president Jean-Pierre Rivere confirmed at a press conference on Wednesday (27/5) that the former Newscastle winger would indeed be playing for Nice this coming season, even though the rule says so. “After the injustice of not being allowed to play for Nice last season, we had lunch together, and I told him that we would try to make sure the story is beautiful in the end,” said Rivere.
Hailed as one of France’s biggest prospects when he came out through the ranks of his boyhood club Lyon, Ben Arfa has been called up for France 13 times and score twice for the national team. He won four Ligue 1 with Lyon and one with Marseille before becoming the part of Newcastle in 2010.