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Sep 20, 2010

Hughton hints at permanent move for Ben Arfa

Newcastle manager Chris Hughton says Hatem Ben Arfa took a step towards a permanent deal with the club after scoring a stunning goal against Everton on Saturday.

Ben Arfa, who has joined the club on loan from Marseille for the season, marked his first start for the Magpies with the only goal of the game at Goodison Park and looked to be a positive addition to the club's midfield.

Hughton was suitably impressed and suggested Newcastle will look to take up their option to sign the France international on a permanent deal.

"He has that quality, that something that's a little bit different that could make the Newcastle fans really take to him," Hughton said. "It was a very encouraging performance from a player who gives us new options on the left.

"It was a great debut, but the key is whether he can produce that kind of thing on a consistent basis. If he can, then I'm sure we'll be looking at making his move permanent. There's a long way to go before that though."

Everton were one of the clubs that Ben Arfa rejected in order to pursue a move to Newcastle, and the former Lyon star says that while joining the promoted side was something of a risk, he is happy with the choice he made.

When asked whether he could have joined Everton, Ben Arfa said: "No, not really. There was a lot of talk but Newcastle were the ones who wanted me and they are the club I have agreed to join, and if other clubs did want me then I hope I can show at Newcastle why they wanted me.

"Sometimes in football you have to take a risk. I knew about Newcastle and when I came there for the first time, you could see how big it was. It may have been newly-promoted but it didn't feel like it because there are so many good players at the club - and you could see that on Saturday.

"We should be ambitious but we also have to be calm and remember it's pretty early in the season. There is plenty of character in this team so we'll see how far we can take it.

"Newcastle are a big, big club with some really astonishing supporters. When I came here, I wondered what I would find but I am surrounded by some really good players, who will take us far. It is exactly the sort of club that I left behind in Marseille.

"They have the same passion among the supporters, the same sense that the club dominates everything in the city. It is a great thing when you play in front of passionate fans. You want to give them something back, you want to play for them, do your best for them. I am very, very happy that they saw us win and that I scored for them."

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