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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Nov 18, 2009

Ben Arfa set for talks over future after bust-up

Hatem Ben Arfa is set for make-or-break talks with Marseille over his future following a training-ground bust-up with coach Didier Deschamps on Tuesday.

The 22-year-old went to Deschamps' office to apologise after the angry exchange but the Mediterranean club appear to be losing patience with the France international.

Ben Arfa has failed to live up to expectations since arriving at Marseille from Lyon for 13 million euros in summer 2008, with reports suggesting the confrontation could prove the final straw. But Deschamps insists it is up to the player whether he remains at the Stade Velodrome or moves on, with Portsmouth, Tottenham, Sevilla and Villarreal believed to be among the clubs monitoring his situation.

"I could help him - I can help him - but he has the key to the situation," he said. "It's a matter of balance. Football at a high level has expectations. I know he can beat four opponents any time, but football is not only that. You must play with and off the ball. You need consistency. To sum it up, he's talented but only uses it sporadically."

Marseille sporting director Jose Anigo has always defended Ben Arfa in thepast, but he too changed his tone after yesterday's incident.

"The coach has all our support," he said in L'Equipe. "Hatem messed it up again. It doesn't mean anything anymore.

"There's still two months to go - then we will talk with his agents. If he's not happy in Marseille anymore, we will sum things up, but the squad has to work in good conditions.

"Hatem must do what Deschamps wants. If he's not happy with it, he can speak with Didier, with me - we are ready to listen. What we hope is he behaves in a professional manner until the end. It's the minimum he owes to both himself and us."

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