What a waste as Hatem Ben Arfa starts 66 league games since Newcastle – Thiago Motta to the rescue?
On 29 March 2014, Hatem Ben Arfa started his last league match for Newcastle United.
Three weeks earlier he had turned 27 and should have been set for his prime years.
That day NUFC lost 4-0 at Southampton, Hatem Ben Arfa dragged off at half-time and replaced by Luuk de Jong.
Never again to be seen in a Newcastle United starting eleven.
In these next five years eight months, Hatem Ben Arfa has started exactly 66 league matches.
Five for Hull (under Steve Bruce!), 33 at Nice, five for PSG and 23 with Rennes last season.
By my reckoning, that makes it on average around one league game a month since last starting one for NUFC.
For whatever reason(s), the enigmatic Frenchman didn’t stay with Rennes after a very good season in 2018/19, instead becoming a free agent and still is one six months later…
However, salvation may be at hand.
His former teammate at PSG, Thiago Motta, got the job at Genoa last month.
They have made small progress going from second bottom to fourth bottom but are still only two points clear of rock bottom.
Unable to buy/loan any contracted players until January, Motta is said by Sky Sports Italia to be interested in signing Hatem Ben Arfa to help fight relegation from Serie A.
Indeed in his whole career the now 32 year old Ben Arfa is still to reach 200 league starts, managing 48 in his time at Newcastle.
Some great moments in a Newcastle United shirt (and elsewhere) but there should have been so many more.
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