The best £5m Newcastle United have spent in the last decade

Words by Kevin Doocey on .

Hatem Ben Arfa in action for Newcastle United against West Brom

Ben Arfa - Starting to show his raw potential in a Newcastle United shirt

I think it is fair to say that Hatem Ben Arfa played his best ever 75 minutes in a Newcastle United shirt last Sunday against West Brom. His touch, pace, movement and vision crafted two goals for Papiss Cissé, before taking time out to score a beautiful effort himself. He didn’t put a foot wrong all game long and ran riot any time he got the ball to his feet. If he wasn’t setting up an attempt for our two centre forwards - then he was busy holding on to the ball and resetting the pace of the game to his own liking.

The best thing about it all? I knew that it was coming, and that it was only a matter of time before wor Benny began to terrorize defences into submission.

From 2002 onwards we have seen a lot of players arrive on Tyneside for big fees, and leave behind an even bigger disappointment. Not this time though. Ben Arfa joined initially - what was then Chris Hughton’s Newcastle United - on loan from Marseille with the option to turn the loan move into a permanent deal for £5m.

Alan Pardew was appointed a little while after, and in January of the New Year, whilst Ben Arfa recovered from a broken leg he suffered away to Manchester City, the NUFC backroom team decided to take a gamble and splash the five million on the Frenchman.

Of course we’ve had some good signings since the turn of the millennium - but Ben Arfa is my pick. Young; considered in high regard by a lot of the footballing world; exciting - and only £5m. For what we’ve managed to land, you won’t get much better value than that.

Cheik arrived for £3.5m in a great piece of business and could easily go for seven times that, but Ben Arfa is something different.

People do not realise how good this chap can be provided he’s brought through correctly.

A hot head? Maybe, maybe not. We’re sure Alan Pardew can take care of that if anything arises.

£5m - 25 years old - raw potential - attacking. And a fans favourite.

Chris Hughton, Graham Carr, Norman Wooster, Alan Pardew & even Mike Ashley: Well done.

Comments welcome 🙂

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LFC1club4me: ⏱ 30/03/2012

gutierez was a beter signin that arfa...

Bobbymartins: ⏱ 30/03/2012

Probably not a bad thing that he was made to sit out some games by pardew till he disciplined him games. In Ligue one he did a lot of solo runs which were eye pleasing but never always amounted to the goals his talent deserves. But at the game at West Brom showed his best position in the team playing a freelancer behind the 2 strikers

RobbyBobson: ⏱ 30/03/2012

Cisse, Ba, Tiote and co and brilliant players, but HBA has the potential to be on a different level. Going on his technical ability and natural talent he could grace any team in the world, its just getting it out of him on a consistent basis, and also he needs to learn when to try that cheeky turn and when to play it safe.  Running with the ball at pace the close control he has to be one of the best in the league, the time the defender chasing him has taken one stride Hatem has had 2/3 touches of the ball keeping it under his spell. Like i said, Hatem can be as good as he wants to be, as he has all the talent in the world. 

Paul Wright: ⏱ 30/03/2012

Great post! Brilliant piece of business I can remember a time when Ben Arfa was rated just as high as Benzema! Great times to be a newcastle fan and actually starting to warm to mike ashley and whats hes trying to do even though hes easy to hate

Doocey: ⏱ 30/03/2012

Spot on sir.

Doocey: ⏱ 30/03/2012

Thanks :) Seems like Ashley is starting to get things right at NUFC - long may it continue! As for Ben Arfa & Benzema; two hottest prospects coming out of Lyon not too many years ago indeed.

Toon: ⏱ 30/03/2012

I think it is fair to say....he came off after about 75 minutes, but don't let the facts get in the way of a tired old football cliché eh

Doocey: ⏱ 30/03/2012

Big statement to make! :D

RS: ⏱ 30/03/2012

Agree with everything here. He has so much untapped potential. It isn't a joke in saying he could be one of the best players in the world, but i doubt that can happen at Newcastle. He has an ability of taking players on and keeping the ball that only a few players in the world can do. Great blog. Have a look at my page

Gallon_tony: ⏱ 31/03/2012

We paid 2.5M for the initial season long + 5.5M for the option to buy = 8M. Also Ashley isn't just starting to get things right, he's doing what he set out to do all along it's just that fans are starting to believe in him again after the results of this season. Also, Ben Arfa needs to perform and stay fit for at least 2/3 seasons before he is entitled to 'that' claim. Cracking player though and can be a toon great if he stays.

Guest: ⏱ 31/03/2012

Beware - the devious old bacon faced one is eying HBA as his new Cantona. Expect a miserly £10m bid to be accepted by Newcastle from MUFC.

Martygall: ⏱ 04/04/2012

Good post Doocey, Hba has been impressive and all praise has gotta go to AP. We,the fans gave him green because he wasn't playing him but Pards has done a great job in teaching him about his team duties and overall work rate. He most certainly would fit into most teams in the top stage. Valuation? Definitely would make 25 to 30 if to more