Newcastle aiming to beat Liverpool to Hatem Ben Arfa transfer
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew is hoping to make his first signing next week by completing a permanent deal for French winger Hatem Ben Arfa.
The 23-year-old, who signed on a season-long loan deal from Marseille during the summer, has been out of action since October 3 when he suffered a double leg fracture in a challenge with Manchester City's Nigel de Jong.
He had played only four games for the Magpies when misfortune struck, but showed enough to persuade them to attempt to take up an option on a permanent deal.
Ben Arfa is understood to have travelled to Tyneside to meet new manager Alan Pardew - he was brought to the club initially by Chris Hughton - and Newcastle will seek to wrap up the move early in the transfer window, which opens at the weekend.
The Magpies, who were not commenting today, were hoping to do the deal on the quiet amid reports that Liverpool too are interested in the midfielder, but news of his impending departure was circulating in France yesterday.
Hughton, who was sacked earlier this month, had planned to make a decision on Ben Arfa, who is valued at around £5million, at the end of the season.
However, his impressive early form - he scored a stunning winner at Everton on September 18 - has persuaded the club to move in January.
A successful swoop would concentrate minds on the need to secure a place in the Barclays Premier League for next season after successive defeats by Manchester City and Tottenham over Christmas left the Magpies just three points clear of the drop zone.
Latest in Sport
- 1 The black and blue dress: Makers considering a white and gold version
- 2 Husband and wife die holding hands within hours of each other after 67 years of marriage
- 3 What color is The Dress, white and gold or blue and black? An eyewitness gives a definitive answer
- 5 Fearne Cotton quits Radio 1 after ten years for 'family and new adventures'
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Half of Ukip voters say they are prejudiced against people of other races
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Aqsa Mahmood branded a 'disgrace' by her parents after claims she recruited three UK girls flying to Middle East