This morning we brought you news that Hatem Ben Arfa had been in talks with Barcelona last weekend according to various media in France, with L’Equipe claiming that it now looked to be Barcelona who had won the race for his signature – despite 17 other named clubs also being credited with interest.

Some people were sceptical but now Nice President Jean Pierre Rivere has confirmed that Hatem Ben Arfa is discussing a summer move to Barcelona, but that the Spanish club and Hatem have yet to finalise the deal.

Helping to ease the deal through is Eric Abidal, the former Barcelona defender also played with Hatem Ben Arfa for both Lyon and France and is a friend of the former Newcastle player.

GFFN reporting what the Nice President said when speaking to France 3:

“I would be very happy for him and for Nice if this move comes off.

“You do not reject Barcelona but it is up to him (Hatem Ben Arfa) to decide.

“If I was a player and Barcelona was offered to me, I would not ask questions, I would go!

“But it is not yet done according to what I am told.”

Soon to be free agent Hatem Ben Arfa travelled to Barcelona last Sunday and met with Barca officials to talk about the potential deal, including the issue of how much playing time he would be likely to get.

However, that is said not to be a problem and Hatem accepted that  there would be no guarantee of being a regular starter in return for the chance to play for Barcelona and the potential opportunity of Champions League football.

Having been released by Mike Ashley at Newcastle just over a year ago, this is the greatest comeback since Lazarus…as Sid Waddell might have said.

An outstanding season at Nice, Hatem Ben Arfa has inspired the perennial underdogs into the top four of Ligue 1, scoring 18 goals so far this season.