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Page last updated at 14:24 GMT, Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Hatem Ben Arfa completes Newcastle United move

Hatem Ben Arfa
Ben Arfa scored on his full debut for Newcastle at Everton in September

Newcastle United have completed the signing of France international midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa from Marseille for an undisclosed fee.

The 23-year-old has signed a deal to keep him at St James' Park until June 2015 following a promising loan spell.

"I am absolutely delighted to be signing for Newcastle United on a permanent basis," Ben Arfa told the club website.

"I thoroughly enjoyed playing for the team and for the supporters too."

The former Clairefontaine academy graduate added: "This is a great club and I am very happy to be committing my future to them."

Despite impressing with a goal on his full debut at Everton, Ben Arfa played only one further full match before breaking his leg in a challenge with Nigel De Jong during the Magpies' 2-1 defeat by Manchester City in October.

"I am getting back to fitness as quickly as I can and am really looking forward to getting back to St. James' Park, seeing the lads again and of course working with Alan Pardew and his staff," Ben Arfa continued.

"During my time out, I have been inundated with messages of support from fans and I want to repay them all with good performances on the pitch later this season."

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Ben Arfa's permanent switch follows the announcement of a new contract for defender Steven Taylor, as recently appointed boss Alan Pardew works toward shaping his squad.

"When I came to the club last month, one of my priorities was to secure Hatem on a permanent deal," Pardew said.

"The last thing I wanted was for us to lose him when his loan ended so we're really pleased to have agreed that deal today.

"He's obviously a top player and he's shown that in France, at international level and in his short time here at Newcastle.

"I'm delighted to secure Hatem as my first signing and once he's back fit, I have no doubt he'll confirm just what a superb player he is."

The Paris-born midfielder joined French side Lyon from the Clairefontaine academy in 2002, before completing an £8.5m move to Marseille in 2008.

He has eight caps for the France national team, the last of which came as a scoring substitute in August's 2-1 friendly defeat by Norway.



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