During the darkest times of Newcastle's season it seemed likely that unless something drastic happened in the second half of the year, it would become inevitable that star players like Hatem Ben Arfa would leave in the summer. Ben Arfa himself even slightly fueled that speculation by discussing teams like Chelsea and PSG in glowing terms.
However the club clearly demonstrated its ambition to climb the table with a string of excellent signings in January, and not only has that had an immediate impact on their league form, it will have a long term benefit in indicating to players like Ben Arfa that Newcastle is a team on the up.
As such, the recent speculation linking Ben Arfa with a swap move to Liverpool (involving, somewhat inevitably, Andy Carroll) looks a little ridiculous, and that is a demonstration of how much has changed at the side in the past few weeks.
Now the winger must be desperate to shake off his injury and join the plethora of his compatriots on the pitch at St James' Park, and the idea of Ben Arfa joining a side that has looked so impressive over the last couple of matches must be a mouth-watering prospect for Newcastle fans.
Last year the 25 year old was essential to the fantastic run in that almost saw them claim a Champions League place, and with his return likely to come towards the end of February, Alan Pardew will hope he can be similarly effective this season.
Jonas and Yoann Gouffran were excellent on the flanks for Newcastle in their win over Chelsea, and the arrival of the latter has given Newcastle some much needed depth to cover the injury prone Ben Arfa, but you would expect that Ben Arfa will be one of the first names on the team sheet when he regains match fitness, and there will no greater motivator in his rehabilitation that seeing what has gone on at his club in the past month.
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