French bad boy must wait for summer exit

22 January 2010

Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, Everton and Arsenal target Hatem Ben Arfa has been told he will not be leaving Marseille during the January transfer window. Hatem Ben Arfa The 22-year-old winger has been strongly linked with Arsenal since graduating from the academy, but Arsene Wenger has never made a concrete move for the player.

Everton manager David Moyes made a concrete offer until the end of the season for the winger’s services but the offer was rejected. The Toffees boss is eager to recruit a number of players in the January transfer window but has admitted he is only looking at the possibility of short-term loans.

Spurs manager Harry Redknapp and Red Devil’s boss Sir Alex Ferguson also reportedly enquired about the future of the mercurial Ben Arfa, however Deschamps is eager to keep the playmaker at least until the summer and rejected the possibility of Ben Arfa leaving until the summer.

Didier Deschamps told L’Equipe:

"The issue for the duo of Ben Arfa and Valbuena was game time and I understand their disappointment but they do not get that," he told L'Equipe.

"(But) they like me, they have pace and they have given a boost to this team.

"They will stay. I have no doubt at all about their involvement."

Ben Arfa’s future became uncertain following repeated bust-ups with Marseille manager Didier Deschamps. Ben Arfa, who was once considered a wonder kid after graduating from the prodigious Clairefontaine Academy, has had his potential and ability marred by ill-discipline and poor behavior at his former club Lyon and current club Marseille. Even as a youngster in the coveted academy Ben Arfa came to blows with current Arsenal player Abou Diaby live on a documentary that was being recorded about the school of excellence.

The Marseille Chairman Jean-Claude Dassier stated before the transfer window

"There is a 95 per cent chance of him staying at the club," president Dassier told France Football of Ben Arfa.

"I never thought he would leave and he was never very enthusiastic about leaving either.

"For just now he is in Spain with Marseille.

"We have received no offers, but it is true that if a club like Manchester United or Real Madrid offered €45million [£40.5m] then we would have to think twice. But I don't believe it will happen."