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Page last updated at 13:57 GMT, Saturday, 28 August 2010 14:57 UK

Newcastle sign Hatem Ben Arfa on loan from Marseille

Hatem Ben Arfa
Ben Arfa could make his debut against Blackpool next week

Newcastle have signed Marseille's France international winger Hatem Ben Arfa on a season-long loan deal.

The 23-year-old put pen to paper after weeks of negotiations between the two clubs to become Newcastle boss Chris Hughton's fifth capture of the summer.

He said: "I've paid real attention to the history of the club and the great players to have played for it, and particularly the supporters.

"I am delighted to be here and want to showcase my skills in Newcastle."

Ben Arfa had also been linked with a switch to German club Werder Bremen, but insisted "it was always my first choice to come to Newcastle".

He added: "All I'm waiting for is to show what I can do in front of the public in Newcastle. A lot of my friends in France already know the fans' reputation. The stadium has an ambience that is unique and I feel very lucky to have this opportunity."

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Ben Arfa, a product of the French academy at Clairefontaine, started his professional career at Lyon before moving to Marseille and is regarded as one of the most naturally talented players in France.

He has played for his country eight times, scoring twice for Les Bleus, including on his debut in the 6-0 win over the Faroe Islands in October 2007.

Despite his international recognition his temperament has sometimes been called into question, and some may consider the signing a gamble, but Hughton believes he will be a big hit at St James' Park.

"Hatem is a player who we have been tracking for a long time, and what is important is that he is not only a young player who should continue to improve, but somebody who already has a great reputation in the game," Hughton said.

"We think he will add flair to the squad and we're confident he'll fit in well with the team that we have put together here. He will, I am sure, prove to be a great addition.

"He'll come into my thinking for the next game at home to Blackpool. He's someone who will excite the fans here, who of course have always identified with skilful, attacking players."



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