Friday, April 20, 2018

Is Hatem Ben Arfa worth the gamble for Barcelona?

Crippy Cooke in Editorial, La Liga, Ligue 1 10 May 2016

OGC Nice winger Hatem Ben Arfa was a Ligue 1 Player of the Year nominee, and made the 2015/16 Team of the Year this season.

OGC Nice winger Hatem Ben Arfa was a Ligue 1 Player of the Year nominee, and made the 2015/16 Team of the Year this season.

OGC Nice winger Hatem Ben Arfa has been linked with a move to Barcelona this summer, with the French international reportedly being invited around the training camp in the last few days.

He will be available on a free transfer at the end of the season and would provide the Catalans with the individual brilliance they’ve missed when calling upon the substitutes, so is he worth the gamble?

Goals and assists aplenty from the dribble king this season

Ben Arfa has enjoyed an outstanding season with Nice. The 29-year-old made the 2015/16 Ligue 1 Team of the Year for his exploits at the Allianz Riviera, and was a Player of the Year nominee too. Ben Arfa has made 33 appearances for Nice in the league this season, scoring 17 goals and making five assists. He’s made over 140 successful dribbles, while creating more than 30 chances.

Barcelona have struggled when looking for inspiration from the bench this season, and it’s led to their front three at times being overworked. Lionel Messi Luis Suarez and Neymar regular start in attack, but the Catalans don’t have anyone providing a similar skillset from the bench and they have definitely suffered for it.

Can Barcelona really say no to the freebie?

Ben Arfa has showcased exactly what they have been missing at times this season, and he wouldn’t cost them a penny with his contract up this summer. It’s seemingly a no brainer for Barcelona, and while keen to keep him on for another season, OGC Nice president Jean Pierre Rivere endorsed the move, saying: “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 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,” he added. Ben Arfa could yet lead his side to a Champions League spot so he still has the current season to finish before talks on a move can gain traction, but Barcelona shouldn’t hesitate to get their man.

The 29-year-old is enjoying the best season of his career by some distance, and his outstanding individual brilliance would surely see him fit in like a glove at the Nou Camp. Ben Arfa won’t threaten to dethrone the likes of Messi, Suarez or Neymar from the starting lineup, but he will be a useful player to introduce when the Catalans are in need of fresh attacking legs.


Crippy Cooke

Crippy Cooke has somehow written for the Telegraph, Independent, Huffington Post, Zoo Magazine, Daily Mail, ITV Football, MSN Sport, Yahoo Sport, London24 and Bleacher Report among others, despite knowing less about football than your average Fan TV member . The weekly accumulator enthusiast is saving up his winnings to pay for a much-needed hair transplant but grows more on his chin than his head. He lives and breathes football and somehow makes a living writing from it.



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