After initially joining the club on a season-long loan from Marseille, Newcastle boss Alan Pardew took the brave decision to sign Hatem Ben Arfa on a permanent basis for around £5m in 2011.
Why was it brave? Well, the Frenchman had suffered a double leg fracture in a challenge with Manchester City midfielder Nigel de Jong, meaning that he had only played four times for the Magpies.
It was a very small sample size for Pardew to go with, and considering that it was his predecessor, Chris Hughton, who initially brought the winger in, it could have been very easy for the then Newcastle boss to just put Ben Arfa aside.
Instead, he placed his trust in the 15-cap international, and watched him produce moment of genius at St James’ Park – his incredible solo goal against Bolton never gets old even to this day.
Sure, there were some frustrating inconsistencies in his performances, and that partly explains why in the end, he scored just 14 times and provided only 16 assists in 86 games for the club.
But when he was fully fit and firing, and stayed clear of niggling injuries, there was no stopping the Frenchman. Speaking after watching him net against Bolton, Pardew lauded: “There is magic in his feet. It is his world when he is on the ball. Not many players in this division can score goals like that. It was very clever. There are not many blessed with that kind of talent.”
Sadly for the 33-year-old, things haven’t quite reached the heady heights he achieved at St James’ Park, with the winger moving all over the place in the hope of settling down.
Ben Arfa’s name has hit the headlines once again after joining the ninth club of his career in Bordeaux, and whilst his name hasn’t been sung on Tyneside for a number of years now, there’s no questioning that he was one of Pardew’s biggest successes at the club.