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Hatem Ben Arfa's fairytale move to Paris Saint-Germain has already become a nightmare

Thursday 27th October 2016
Big things were expected of Hatem Ben Arfa following his summer signing from OGC Nice to Paris Saint-Germain, but the talented Frenchman has found himself on the periphery at the Parc des Princes under new manager Unai Emery.

Ben Arfa enjoyed one of the best seasons of his career with Nice in 2015/16, earning himself a dream move to the capital. However, his time with PSG has already become a nightmare with chances coming few and far between.

Manager fallout has seen Ben Arfa marginalised

Signed on a free transfer in the summer, Ben Arfa joined a strong Paris Saint-Germain side with a vacancy in attack. Edinson Cavani replaced Zlatan Ibrahimovic at centre-forward, meaning there was a chance to forge a regular spot out wide, but Hatem Ben Arfa hasn't been given enough minutes to prove his worth. The former Newcastle United man has amassed just 186 minutes of playing time in Ligue 1 this season and had a spectacular fall-out with Emery in September.

The new Paris Saint-Germain head coach is notorious for his intensity on the training field as well as his penchant for discipline. Ben Arfa has struggled in the past to operate under strict coaches and it appears the two personalities have clashed, resulting in little to no game time for the French forward. Ben Arfa has had to make do with second-half cameos in recent weeks, coming on around the 75-minute mark when the game is already won, and January could see the two parting ways if things continue.

Wasted talent being left to rot at PSG

A left-footed right-winger, Ben Arfa's strengths are cutting inside and running with the ball in central areas. He's more of a goalscorer than creator and possesses the type of natural ability others can only dream of. His sharp first touch sees him able to collect the ball under pressure and dribble his way out of danger. The 29-year-old is guilty of holding onto the ball too long at times when teammates are available and in better positions, but last season he silenced his critics.

Scoring and creating 23 goals in 34 Ligue 1 games for Nice in 2015/16 and earning a Player of the Year nomination, Ben Arfa was unrecognisable from the player seen at Newcastle United and Hull City. But from regularly lighting up Ligue 1 in a Nice shirt last season, Ben Arfa has been lucky to make the bench for PSG at times in recent weeks. His highly-publicised fallout with Emery resulted in the PSG manager saying: “"You're no Messi. If you were, I wouldn't say anything to you at all. You're not capable of winning a game all on your own like him.” Ben Arfa's single-minded mentality doesn't seem to fit the mould of an Emery side, and since the two clashed on the training ground Ben Arfa has made four appearances in all competitions, averaging 11 minutes of playing time per game.

A move which could have turned Hatem Ben Arfa into a superstar – something he was tipped for earlier in his career - has now become a nightmare.
Crippy Cooke

Crippy is a long-suffering Aston Villa supporter and weekly football accumulator enthusiast.

Stealing a living, the balding 27-year-old boasts a wealth of writing experience - Telegraph, Independent, Huffington Post, Zoo Magazine, Daily Mail, ITV Football, MSN Sport, Yahoo Sport, London 24 and Bleacher Report.

Total articles: 321

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