Ben Arfa close to I'OM exit
Hatem Ben Arfa is set for showdown talks with Marseille after a bust-up with Didier Deschamps.
By Richard Bailey
Last Updated: 18/11/09 1:36pm
Hatem Ben Arfa is set for showdown talks with Marseille after a training ground bust-up with manager Didier Deschamps.
The 22-year-old is thought to have apologised to his boss but the latest incident could be the last straw for a player who has a chequered past.
The forward arrived at Marseille from Lyon for £11.5million in summer 2008 - a move reportedly brought about because Ben Arfa felt he could no longer play alongside team-mate Karim Benzema after the pair fell out.
Controversy has continued to follow the Frenchman, with missed training sessions and training ground scuffles tainting his time at the Stade Velodrome.
Ben Arfa even infuriated former manager Eric Gerets by refusing to come on as a substitute last season and it appears the club have lost patience with the talented playmaker with Portsmouth, Tottenham and Spanish duo Sevilla and Villarreal said to be interested.
"I could help, I can help, but it is he who holds the key," Deschamps said.
"It is a question of balance. These are the demands at the highest level. I know at any moment he can take out four opponents and create something, but football is not just about that.
"There are requirements with and without the ball. He has talent but he expresses it sparingly."
Marseille sporting director Jose Anigo, who has defended Ben Arfa in the past, seems resigned to selling the player in January.
"The coach has our full support," he told L'Equipe. "Hatem has slipped again. That does not mean anything any more.
"He has two months to wait. Then we will discuss the situation with his representatives around the table.
"If he is happier in Marseille, we'll take stock. But it is necessary that the squad is working in good conditions. Hatem must comply with what Deschamps wants.
"If it does not suit him, he can talk with Didier and with me. We are ready to listen.
"But what we hope is that he keeps a professional attitude to the end. It's the least that he must do for us and also for himself."