Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

United's My Future, Says French Star

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

United's My Future, Says French Star

Article excerpt

Byline: Neil Cameron

HATEM Ben Arfa yesterday became the latest Newcastle player to make a promise that he wants to stay at St James' Park for the long-term.

Following on from recent similar proclamations by Papiss Ciss and Yohan Cabaye, both of whom pledged their immediate future to United, the talented midfielder revealed it would take "a really serious offer" for him to even think about leaving the club.

Ben Arfa's superb form earned his way into French coach Laurent Blanc's Euro 2012 squad and, as a result of this promotion, he attracted the interest of other clubs around Europe.

And a good showing in Ukraine and Poland, starting against England in Donetsk on Monday, would only make more managers sit up and take notice.

However, Ben Arfa revealed it would need to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the brilliant playmaker to even consider ending his Tyneside love affair.

Ben Arfa, 25, said: "If I do not have a really, really serious offer, I'll stay at Newcastle. If a big club comes, but does not offer anything interesting - that is to say, the coach really wants me - I'll stay.

"Newcastle is a big club, even if there are bigger. I still have three years on my contract, but I know that time will pass quickly.

"I've never felt as settled at a club as I do at Newcastle. I feel like I'm somebody important there, it's a get to a major tournament is one of your goals as a kid - whatever country you're from." At one point it looked as if O'Shea's curse might strike again. He limped off in Sunderland's last Premier League game of the season - his first on Wearside after moving from boyhood club Manchester United last summer - with an ankle injury. Although it has hampered his preparations, such is his importance to Ireland they have waited for him. …

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