He’s a man that most Premier League fans love to hate.
Over the past few years we’ve seen Hatem Ben Arfa at Hull City and Newcastle United, and when he’s at his mesmerising best he’s an absolute pleasure to watch. However his time in England was blighted by ill-discipline and patches of poor form.
He’s so unpredictable. One minute he’s competing with the likes of Neymar and Lionel Messi in the skills department, but other days he can appear disinterested and lazy.
Now back in his native homeland, Ben Arfa seems to have settled at Nice. The club are fighting for Europe and sit fourth in Ligue 1, and it’s fair to say the former Newcastle winger has played his part in securing their continental credentials.
And it is his form that has made the Premier League stand up and take notice once again, with Liverpool thought to be considering a summer move. 16 goals in 29 appearances has ensured the winger is being tracked by Jurgen Klopp, who is believed to have sanctioned a tentative contract offer for the soon-to-be-free-agent.
The transfer talk is justified, regardless of the player’s reputation. Ben Arfa has been absolutely fantastic for Nice this season, after all. He’s been on-form week-after-week and the troubles with discipline that have plagued his career so far seem to have been left in England. If Klopp is keen to boost his attacking options ready for next season, HBA is an option.
But at the forefront of the German’s mind will be the problems that Ben Arfa has created for himself for the entirety of his career. One of the reasons he’s not already at a top club is because he has a distinct inability to control his behaviour, and the tough tactician won’t tolerate any fooling around as he attempts to build his Liverpool legacy.
He’s run into trouble in both France and England and various players and managers have been unimpressed by Ben Arfa’s attitude. He got into a ‘heated’ debate with former Arsenal man Sebastian Squillaci back in 2006, whilst two years later he was disciplined by Lyon for refusing to warm up when called upon by coach Eric Gerets.
Meanwhile in England, Ben Arfa was simply unable to be found when he decided his spell at Hull City wasn’t working out. He went completely awol, with manager Steve Bruce conceding he had no idea where his player was – not a great sign.
But as we know, with the controversy comes a player that can really play football at the highest level. He’s been glittering on many an occasion, but it seems like managers are growing weary with his antics.