Hatem Ben Arfa has a new club.
An official announcement (see below) on Wednesday, revealing that the former Newcastle United cult hero has joined Lille.
This is a seventh French club (Lyon, Marseille, Nice, PSG, Rennes, Bordeaux, Lille) for Hatem Ben Arfa, his tenth (non-French – Newcastle United, Hull and Real Valladolid) in all, so far…
Set to turn 35 in March, Hatem Ben Arfa could be set to line up in the same team as Newcastle United target Sven Botman, with Champions League glory also possible as Lille face Chelsea next month in the last 16 knockout stage.
Just in case you were puzzled by some of the references below, Lille are nicknamed ‘The Mastiffs’, which to me sounds a canny nickname.
How time flies, difficult to believe it is now coming up to eight years since Hatem Ben Arfa played his last game for Newcastle United.
Lille Official Announcement – 19 January 2022:
IT’S OFFICIAL, HATEM BEN ARFA IS A MASTIFF!
LOSC announces the arrival at the Club of Hatem Ben Arfa (34). The French international midfielder (15 caps, 2 goals) signed a 6-month contract today which binds him to the Lille club until the end of the 2021-2022 season.
A KNOWN AND RECOGNIZED LEFT PAW
A talented footballer revealed very early on, Hatem Ben Arfa has been lighting up Ligue 1 for many seasons – but also the Premier League in particular – with his immense qualities which have made him one of the most complete technicians of his generation in France. Born on March 7, 1987 in Clamart (92), the young left-hander enjoyed early success and success in the elite of French football. First international title at 17 (Euro U17), first match (and first goal) with the pros a few months later, first French championship title at 18, first double in the Champions League and first cap (and first goal) with the Blues at 20 (Faroe Islands-France, 13/10/2007).
10 NATIONAL TITLES IN 5 YEARS: STRATOSPHERIC BEGINNINGS
In his technical and percussion style, the young playmaker trained at Clairefontaine immediately established himself as one of the greatest promises of French football in the middle of the 2000s. After a remarkable debut at Olympique Lyonnais ( 2002-2008), club with which he won four French championship titles (2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008), a Coupe de France (2008) and three Champions Trophies (2005, 2006 and 2007), he was named best prospect for the 2007-2008 season. A few months later, he joined Olympique de Marseille (2008-2011) where he notably added a new Hexagoal (2010), an additional Champions Trophy (2010) as well as a League Cup (2010) to his already spectacular track record.
LIGUE 1, HIS FAVOURITE LAND OF EXPRESSION
The prestigious English Premier League then opens up to this versatile element known for his ability to break opposing lines and his changes of pace. Hatem played nearly 100 matches (in all competitions) on the other side of the Channel, with particularly remarkable performances under the Newcastle jersey (2011-2014) in particular, while he was among the 23 Blues at Euro 2012 .
In 2015, Hatem signed an explosive return to French football in Nice. A major season (18 goals, 7 assists cc) which gives him a place in the standard team of the season and opens the doors to Paris Saint-Germain (2016-2018). In the capital, HBA found the Champions League in particular and won a double Coupe de France-Coupe de la Ligue (2017) as well as a fifth Trophée des Champions (2016). Most of his career will then continue in France, at Stade Rennais (2018-2019) with whom he won the Coupe de France and at the Girondins de Bordeaux where he brings his experience during the 2020-2021 season.
Now 34, Hatem Ben Arfa has taken up the challenge of LOSC, in a championship he knows perfectly and in which he has played 234 games (42 goals, 25 assists). His immense experience of international football (more than 400 elite matches to his credit) will be a valuable advantage for the Lille club at the dawn of the second half of the 2021-2022 season. Hatem, a player of talent and character, will also offer additional and complementary offensive solutions for the next challenges of LOSC in Ligue 1 as in the UEFA Champions League.
Hatem Ben Arfa is a Mastiff. The LOSC is proud to welcome him and welcomes him in its new colours.
HATEM BEN ARFA
“ I am very happy to join LOSC today.
“It’s a team that has shown a lot of great things this season, and obviously last year with a title of Champion of France.
“I am happy to sign in this club which continues to rise.
“I have faced LOSC several times in my career, in different stadiums, and it will be a great pleasure for me to wear the Lille jersey at the Stade Pierre Mauroy.
“I know that many great players have passed through here.
“It is an honour for me to be able to take up this challenge, with the will above all to help the group and the club achieve their objectives.
“I feel very good and I can’t wait to get back to competition.”
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