Ben Arfa edging towards exit

Marseille boss fighting a losing battle

Ben Arfa: Pushing for a move

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Didier Deschamps concedes that it is increasingly likely that Hatem Ben Arfa will be leaving Marseille.

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The France international is a top target for Premier League newcomers Newcastle, and has been throughout the summer.

The talented winger has made it clear that he wishes to move to England and is prepared to do all he can to push through a deal.

At present, that means absconding from training, putting pressure on his current employers to make a switch happen.

Marseille boss Deschamps feels the 23-year-old is going about securing a move in the wrong way, but admits that the situation has become virtually untenable.

"Getting Ben Arfa backs seems to be very difficult, considering his drastic actions and behaviour," he told L'Equipe.

"Missing training sessions is not good for him or the group.

"I believe I have tried to do a lot for him. He has talent, but he has weaknesses too.

"I have spent a lot of time talking to Hatem. My first idea was to find him a club somewhere else, let him leave for sporting reasons, but I have never said that I didn't want him anymore."


Deschamps is reluctant to see Ben Arfa leave as he has already had to bid farewell to his most potent attacking weapon.

Club captain Mamadou Niang has opted to join Fenerbahce and Marseille have been left short on creative options as a result.

"The Niang transfer hurt us a lot," added Deschamps. "I wanted to keep him and put reinforcements alongside him.

"I can understand the will to sell for economical reasons, but we should have forecast his departure.

"To let him leave now, shortly after the start of the season, is a disaster.

"The Hatem situation has now further reduced our attacking power. If he leaves, we will need to find a new solution in attack."