Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The waiting game

It's been a few days since we last mentioned Hatem Ben Arfa, so what news of his potential move to Tyneside? Well, none actually. Here's Marseille president Jean-Claude Dassier to explain: "We’re waiting for news from Newcastle. For the moment we don’t have any ... we asked them for the minimum because I have no intention, I say it again, of breaking Ben Arfa’s career – it’s not my style."

This does at least indicate a conciliatory attitude on Dassier's part in spite of the Frenchman's strike action and a willingness to negotiate, so it seems the ball is in our court. But the longer we dally and it drags on, the more likely it is that we won't have it all our own way - according to the Mirror and the Times, AC Milan and Werder Bremen are waiting in the wings for the winger.

Coincidentally, it could be a former Toon player who greases the wheels of any move. Today's Daily Heil reports that Ben Arfa's club are keen on giving the Zog the move away from the DW Stadium that he craves.

On the subject of protracted transfer wranglings, another ex-Newcastle winger, James Milner, has finally completed his agonisingly drawn-out move to Moneybags FC, where he'll be reunited with Shay Given (though perhaps only temporarily) but not the No-Necked One, after the latter's move to Cardiff yesterday. That means that Milner, who scored on his final appearance for Villa last weekend, won't be in the side that takes to the St James' Park turf on Sunday - though Stephen Ireland, the underrated makeweight who's moved the other way, might be.


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