Hatem Ben Arfa’s transfer to PSG over the summer seems to be already turning into something of a farce. He’s being left out of squads by manager Unai Emery and there’s been talk of him not giving it his all in training sessions.
Current Southampton manager Claude Puel was at Nice last year and got Ben Arfa’s best form out of him, which led to PSG wanting the player in the first place.
Puel was speaking to RTL in France, via Le10 Sport, and told them that Emery needs to realise Ben Arfa is a star player: “Every coach has to make choices. I somehow managed Ben Arfa, is it possible in Paris?
“Hatem is the same type as Ibra. You must build the team around him, put him in the best conditions.”
Leicester City’s Nampalys Mendy was also at Southampton last season and the midfielder has been speaking to L’Equipe about Ben Arfa and explained the player needs to be treated differently: “In Nice, he never experienced anything like it. He was happy, he had a whole group behind him, and it was reflected on the pitch. Hatem needs to be loved.
“I’m at a distance but I have trouble understanding. How is it that you spend a season where you have exploded and then you’re not even in the group?
“It is the choice of a coach, but I find it unfortunate for PSG, to deprive themselves of such talent. With us, as Claude Puel said, it’s true that he was not on top during training.”
Playing for Nice is very different to playing for PSG, so as Puel may have been able to let Ben Arfa slack off in training, and his teammates not mind so much, that would surely be different at PSG given the number of big stars.