Barcelona close to beating Chelsea to gifted playmaker, ultimate footballing redemption story

Hatem Ben Arfa is closing in on a sensational summer move to Barcelona as his contract with Nice draws to a close, according to Spanish daily Sport.

It’s quite the tale of redemption for the Frenchman, who has released by Newcastle United following a miserable few months and a dismal loan stint with Hull City.

He was axed by the Toon Army just a year ago amid suggestions he lacked the discipline required to compete at the top level, though has found his form again now back in France.

The 29-year old has scored 18 goals for Nice this season, helping propel them into the top five in Ligue 1, while forcing his way back into the Les Blues squad ahead of Euro 2016.

Now, his sensational return to form could hit a stunning crescendo as he closes on a move to the La Liga juggernauts to play with the likes of Luis Suarez, Neymar and Lionel Messi.

The news will likely come as a blow to Chelsea, who were said to have been interested in bringing him back to England.

His contract with the French outfit is due to expire on June 30 and the club’s president has revealed he is now in talks with the Blaugrana.