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Report: Hatem Ben Arfa linked with move to NYCFC



Hatem Ben Arfa’s contract struggles may be alleviated by a move to the Big Apple.

France’s L’Equipe is reporting that Ben Arfa, currently a free agent, has been in discussions with New York City FC regarding a possible move.

A source close to the situation, however, told SBI that there was “no truth” to the report.

Ben Arfa is currently without a club after being released by France’s Nice after a registration error ruled the French winger ineligible. Having previously featured for Hull City as well as Newcastle’s reserves, Ben Arfa was unable to register with Nice upon his transfer to the club on Jan. 5.

The 27-year-old, who has also previously featured for Marseille and Lyon, reportedly sees the move as a potential short-term solution ahead of a return to Europe in the near future.

Ben Arfa, who has earned 13 international caps for France, has faced a difficult past two seasons, as the French star wore out his welcome with both Newcastle and Hull City.

What do you think of a potential NYCFC move for Ben Arfa? How would the winger fit in with the current team?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I agree he’s a high risk but also a high reward if things pan out for the better. My thinking is whether he would act out with figureheads like Lampard, Villa, and Kreis in his camp. I don’t think he’s had those types of figures yet at Newcastle, Hull City, or if he would have had that at Nice.

    Opinions? Could people of their stature positively affect Ben Arfa?

    • To be fair to guys like that the US is a completely different place compared to Europe. It’s not as stressful and a player has more freedom in their personal life. Sometimes these things make a world of difference and help a person mellow out a bit or mature a bit. We do things differently here. So that may help.

      Having bigger names and personalities in a bigger city will also help too, I think. You never know.

      He’s still high risk though.

    • Generally good players love playing with other good players. It is exciting, at least at first. With time, though, Ben Arfa has annoyed people everywhere he has gone. Here in France, folks are sick of the guy and no one even mentions him anymore. Deschamps has erased him from consideration even though, ability-wise, he could be a fringe national team player. He has almost run out of chances in Europe, but that makes this potential move intriguing.

    • It’s not a loophole but an exception in the rule. Players can be in 3 teams per season if the third one is from a league that doesn’t follow the European schedule, like Brazil, Argentina, MLS, Korea, etc

  2. As a SKC supporter, i’m pretty damn jealous of NYCFC’s offseason additions. I would say NYCFC won the offseason (even better then what TFC did). I know it not popular to say this but NYCFC is already been a great addition for MLS

    • Do you think they are going to win ?
      I think Toronto should be mentioned, because NY is looking very similar. Lot of news, we will see if any of that is about the winning during the season.

      ps. all the additions have been great, with the exception of Chivas ( which should have been great and will still be great )

  3. While I agree with long term MLS investment don’t over pay yada yada..

    My argument is the league needs story lines and entertainment value. He’s one of those players that if he’s playing an MLS game on TV, I’ll stick around to watch it or DVR it. Just to see how its bearing out and maybe catch a highlight reel worthy effort.

    • Some people don’t understand that, People like “The Imperative Dummy” don’t want “bad press.” When has MLS ever generated press in general? Attention to the league is not a bad thing people.

      • Jon, I get it that you are a huge Ben Arfa fan and all but allow me to direct you to all the other bigger signings MLS made this off season. Many of which will always be bigger than signing Ben Arfa even if he comes to stay. Then the very team you are touting had it’s fair share of ugly press too. So there is no shortage of press for MLS.

        I know Voice can speak for him/herself but I have to say Voice has been a steady and consistent source of objective, analytic participation on this site. So I don’t get the vitriol sent Voice’s way, why? Because something was said that counters your position? I didn’t see anything wrong with what Voice said, but if you chose to counter – which is your right – I suggest you bring more than insults. Just a suggestion.

      • Which signing is bigger than Ben Arfa? Old slow players like Lampard and Slippy G? YEAH……RIGHT. This would be a top 5 signing for the league. He’s in his prime, exciting, and a position where MLS sorely lacks talent. And “Voice” is a dummy. I can see that 2 comments into my tenure here.

      • I would like younger players too but his age is offset by his baggage.

        All due respect but he had 3 goals in 20-something games for Newcastle, went to Hull and basically walked out of his deal, went to Nice and deal gets axed for 2 teams in a season. I don’t see how NYCFC gets out of the FIFA bind any different. And his recent history is a nightmare.

      • He’s still a talented player. Something this league sorely lacks. I don’t see how taking a chance on him hurts the league.

      • Because he basically said he sees us as a short term bridge right back to Europe. A quick little burst is fun to watch but doesn’t really accrue to the benefit of the league as a lasting asset. Who will remember what Defoe did in MLS in 5-10 years? But Beckham and Henry actually developed a linkage with the league and had achievements here. That creates a legacy and makes the league look better. People here for a pit stop or to retire don’t rub off much.

      • Who will remember what Defoe did ? Everyone, he did nothing.

        Won zip. Toronto didn’t even make the playoffs.

      • Apparently the assumption is that there is a loophole in the FIFA rules because FIFA states that a player can’t play for more than two teams in one season but the MLS season doesn’t start until March, so theoretically it could work. But it remains to be seen how FIFA would respond to the supposed loophole.

      • Bad press sure as heck hurt Chivas USA. Killed it basically.

        If you want to attract future players, you don’t want to appear in some tug of war with a reluctant asset like Defoe. That is more likely to happen with someone who signs a contract they don’t really want to honor and that really wants to be someplace else. They will look for loopholes, make a public stink, and perhaps say bad things about the league.

        Players running around trashing the league do not make it look better. People happy to be here do. We are more likely to get more, better players from abroad, if this looks like an attractive place to play where the league office is not seen as the players’ enemy. If Ben Arfa wants right back out this summer it will be a tug of war like Defoe that won’t make either look good. I’d rather sign someone who wants to be here for 3 years with no other aspirations. The league can then market itself with the player, they mutually make each other look better, and when the next guy comes the image is better and better.

      • This kid has a track record for being a pain in the butt where ever he goes. If it fails here, how is bad publicity when he’s failed everywhere he goes because of his attitude? His attitude is expected at this point. This is low risk/high reward.

      • You can spin it as low PR risk because we know his history, but it will probably make big PR waves and be he said she said if it breaks down… can’t control perception.

        And it is high actual risk because of his history. The Defoe bit helped torpedo TFC’s second big playoff chance. You won’t necessarily be able to fill his slot with anything either DP or rosterwise if he hand grenades in August. You’ll be stuck. It is a practical field product risk that he pulls a Hull and you’re stuck a player down in a cap league.

      • But you see, Jon, MLS is a young league that is still fighting for respect and for good press. Why take this huge risk on a guy who you clearly say has that kind of track record?

        The dude is mad talented, I will give you that, but is lazy as all heck and that is not a recipe that will bode well in MLS where many teams cannot afford to carry a guy who will do wonderful things on offense but not track back and help on defense. His team will not have the kind of talent around him to do that so he’ll have to work harder and I just don’t think the kid will. Last I saw him he was getting subbed out in the first half – for Hull I think it was – because he was hurting the team by not doing his job on the defensive side of the ball.

        The risk is not as low as you make it our to be, Jon.

  4. Bring him in. It would certainly be entertaining. Defoe notwithstanding, gotta think he’d be super motivated.

    I remember highlights at Newcastle, but don’t know the story on wearing out his welcome. Who can enlighten?

  5. Would be a good short-term signing…as a free transfer, at the very least, when he decides to head back to Europe a team/MLS can cash in on him for a few million.

    Also, a very entertaining player to watch, when he is on his game. He always had an abundance of talent.

    • That joke is getting old like really old. I’m not a NYCFC fan but at least they are trying to bring him in what excuse do other mls teams have?

      • Mls didn’t need him but having him isn’t bad either. It’s a calculated risk but so are a lot of things in life. Have him or don’t I don’t care but I just don’t want mls to be afraid of risk. Fortune favors the bold.

      • Agreed. But you have your risks and then you have your sure bets. This guy is talented but a sure bet to not work in MLS since he’s coming here for a training stint in the first place and is a talented yet lazy player – guys like that don’t have a great track record in MLS. So the risk is too high.

        I don’t care if he comes or not. But I do care that it doesn’t end up hurting the league. He’s not coming to my DC United so it makes no difference to me from a team standpoint.

  6. People should see the Defoe potential in someone who sees us as a short term interim solution for their registration problems before going right back where they’d rather be.

    • While your are 100% correct my question to you is what’s to lose? Liverpool took on Mario knowing risks but gave it a shot mls has to do that time to time themselves. Look what if comes over likes it alot and wants to stay. That be a coup for mls but like you said there is the risk he mails it in and heads back to Europe. But why not try. You can never be great unless your willing to try to be great.

      • I think we should invest our effort in players like Henry who actually want to be here for awhile, not for a paycheck or a reboot and boomerang back to Europe. They are our best ambassadors. The people here for money or to re-start their career tend to be more “me” focused and less beneficial to MLS.

      • Why would players still in their peak or on their way back from a down point care more about the league??

        Lets not pretended that players like Jozy and Giovinco and possibly even Gerrard, they wouldnt be here in MLS on a normal salary.

        Henry stayed because he loved NY.

      • Meh, it seems like you are grasping here, as you acknowledge there is a risk but then downplay it. There is a reason why he’s in the mess he’s in right now, plus he’s always shown to be a gifted yet very lazy player to me. So your chances of a guy like that mailing it in are too high. Then you’re downplaying the impact that a guy like that – who is clearly here just to be fit – will have on the locker room. Is there a chance he’ll like things and stay? Yes, but I feel it’s a very small chance.

        It’s much too risky a proposition to waste limited time and resources on, in my opinion.

  7. Why not take him on a free transfer? He’s a fun player to watch, but I guess I’ve never heard about what the guys does to wear out his welcome? Prima donna is he?

    • He’s just another Balotelli. Pretty lazy and arrogant on and off the pitch. But there’s no denying his talent, kid can flat out ball.

    • Extremely talented guy in his prime, but from the times I’ve seen him, he’s demonstrated a lot of selfish play. Not really a team guy at all from what I’ve seen (so take with a grain of salt).


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