Leicester boss Claude Puel hints he is open to Hatem Ben Arfa reunion
New Leicester manager Claude Puel has suggested that he could be interested in rescuing Hatem Ben Arfa from Paris Saint-Germain in the January transfer window.
Puel and Ben Arfa teamed up with Nice for the 2015-16 season and the former Newcastle and Hull man scored 17 goals and registered six assists in 34 Ligue 1 appearances as the club finished fourth in the table.
Ben Arfa moved to PSG on a free transfer on the back of that impressive campaign, while Puel left Allianz Riviera and took over at Southampton. The former has since been frozen out at Parc des Princes, while the latter has recently been appointed Leicester boss.
The pair have remained close and regularly speak and Puel reiterated in an interview with RMC Sport that he is a fan of the attacker.
"I appreciate the player but I also appreciate the person," Puel said of Ben Arfa. "However, for the moment, it is more important to truly get to know my squad, the players and then look at possible winter recruitment.
"The first thing to do is assess the players that I already have at my disposal, respect them and then we will see."
Puel and Ben Arfa recently played together in a charity match for the French Variety Club and the Leicester manager said that his former player has kept himself in good condition, despite his frustration at his PSG situation.
"I have not asked myself these sorts of questions," Puel said when asked if Ben Arfa is fit enough to be playing at present. "I have crossed paths with Hatem every now and then and each time we have spoken a bit.
"With the French Variety Club match [on Oct. 11], we even played together. This was new and very friendly. I found him very sharp, despite his difficult situation. Even just in trainers, he is fit. The club that has the opportunity to sign Hatem will get a very good deal, I think."
Ben Arfa has been told that he has no future with PSG and sporting director Antero Henrique has already seen a few options he lined up rejected by the player, who has fallen out of favour under coach Unai Emery.
Jonathan Johnson covers PSG and the French national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.