Liverpool willing to take gamble on Newcastle’s mercurial wide man
Ever since Liverpool’s doomed attempts to sign Yevhen Konoplyanka in January the Reds have been linked with enough wingers to fill an entire team bus, but the latest name is sure to raise a few eyebrows on Merseyside.
It’s reported that Brendan Rodgers is willing to rescue disgruntled French midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa from the Newcastle wilderness for a fee of around £6m.
Forced into spending significant stretches on the Magpies bench again this season, relations with manager Alan Pardew have hit dire straits in recent weeks, leading to Ben Arfa being omitted from the last two matchday squads.
And having shown some intentions to sign the Frenchman last summer before the trail went cold, it seems Rodgers may be prepared to rekindle that interest as the Northern Irishman looks towards a European campaign next season.
While the former Marseille man has displayed flashes of brilliance in black-and-white over the past three seasons it’s still a big gamble for the 6/5 title-shots to add him to their ranks.
Rodgers’ management style at Anfield requires all playing personnel to give 100% effort to win the ball back when Liverpool are robbed of possession and for a player with supposed work-rate issues, this could be a sticking point.
With the ball at his feet and facing down defenders, Ben Arfa is one of the finest dribblers in the Premier League, but without it, he’s not quite a player in the current Liverpool mould.
Still, Rodgers clearly feels there is untapped potential there and given his famed ‘man-management’ style so lauded by Reds skipper Steven Gerrard this season, he may be able to transform the Frenchman’s fortunes.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
Fancy a flutter? Sign up today to claim up to £50 in free bets.