Newcastle ace Hatem Ben Arfa has admitted his interest in joining Arsenal as well as Chelsea or Liverpool, as the playmaker suggests an exit from Alan Pardew’s side is on the cards, meanwhile the Gunners are believed to be holding talks with England international Wilfried Zaha this week in an attempt to thwart Manchester United in their move for the highly rated Crystal Palace youngster.
Ben Arfa, who has been a revelation since joining Tynside from Marseille in 2010, has hinted he may seek a move away from the struggling Premier League side as early as this January, with Arsenal among the clubs he prefers.
According to the French international Chelsea approached him over the summer, however he wished to remain in Newcastle for this season, however he has struggled with injuries as well as his side struggling for form.
The versatile attacking midfielder told BeIn Sport:
I am interested in Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool. Today, these clubs are above Newcastle.
During the summer, there was contact with Chelsea. But I wanted to stay in Newcastle. When you’ve tasted England, it’s hard to go elsewhere. There is everything to make you happy here.
Arsene Wenger has been a long-term admirer of the 25-year-old who struggled with disciplinary issues earlier in his career, as the Arsenal manager labelled Ben Arfa as one of Frances most gifted players. But despite this it seems unlikely that Wenger would make a move for the winger, who can play centrally behind the striker, with a centre forward the main position that requires strengthening, however if a reasonable deal can be organized he is well worth the investment.
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The French international tore up the Premier League last season, and attracting interest from Chelsea is impressive in itself, however the Londoners have more than enough attacking midfielders after their summer splurge. Another stumbling block in a move for the Frenchman is his love for PSG which he told the world about yesterday, however he did admit that for now he wishes to remain in England.
It is widely known that Arsene Wenger is after a striker with Olivier Giroud the only main out-and-out centre forward at the club, however Theo Walcott has been trialled centrally in recent weeks with mixed results. One name that has continually popped up is the Crystal Palace starlet Wilfried Zaha, and naturally Arsenal have been linked with one of England’s hotest young prospects.
Goal.com believe that the Gunners are entering talks with the 20-year-old who could be the new Ian Wright, however Premier League rivals Manchester United are doing all they can to acquire the youngster too, similarly to the Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain situation. Arsenal ended up on top on that front, but it remains to be seen whether they can thwart the League leaders again.
Zaha is reportedly acquirable at around the £12m mark, however if a bidding war ensures then that figure could quickly rise. Crystal Palace are reluctant to sell their prodigy as they aim for promotion, and it remains to be seen as to whether he has the ability to cut it at the top level at such a young age just yet.
The report also suggested that Zaha’s next club is “50-50” between United and Arsenal, as the youngster is left to choose his destiny. He is a Gooner, and has supported the club all his life but a move to Old Trafford may be too enticing.
From Arsenal’s perspective he is worth the investment but he is not the solution to the Gunners striking problems for this season as he will take time to adapt and is far from the finished product just like Oxlade-Chamberlain. Wenger will most likely be in the box seat to secure his signature because of the Frenchman’s faith in youth which means Zaha will get more playing opportunities, as well as the fact that United already have four big name strikers.
The best solution for the Gunners would be to secure his signature this winter, but loan him back to Crystal Palace for the remainder of the season which suits all parties. What do you think about the Zaha and Ben Arfa rumours? Feel free to comment below..