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Ben Arfa finally joins Marseille

SoccerNews in Ligue 1 1 Jul 2008

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Lyon's France international midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa has finally joined Marseille after the clubs reached an agreement on his transfer, the French football league (LFP) said after a meeting on Tuesday.

The undisclosed fee was reportedly to be for up to 20 million euros and it was the exact price which stymied negotiations, which once looked set to go through quickly a week or so ago.

The LFP said in a statement: “The transfer (of Ben Arfa from Lyon to Marseille) is sealed (…) from the date of June 30.”

The player himself said on leaving the three-hour meeting of the LFP's disciplinary commission: “I am relieved. The only thing to say now is that I am a Marseille player.” He had in fact trained with Marseille earlier on Tuesday.

Ben Arfa won his first full cap against the Faroe Islands last year but failed to make the final cut for the French Euro 2008 squad.

The attacking midfielder is widely regarded as one of France's best rising stars, along with Lyon striker Karim Benzema and Samir Nasri, who is thought to be heading to Arsenal.

Ben Arfa – who had also been linked with a move to the Gunners – joined the French champions in 2004, aged only 17, and helped them to four consecutive championships between 2005 and 2008.

Lyon are undergoing personnel changes as new coach Claude Puel prepares his squad for the coming season.

The club are looking to focus their efforts on the Champions League – a tournament in which they have never before reached the last four.

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