Newcastle United have announced the permanent signing of France international Hatem Ben Arfa, who impressed during the early stages of a loan spell from Marseille before succumbing to serious injury.
Ben Arfa, 23, suffered a leg break in October following a challenge from Manchester City's Nigel De Jong but Newcastle have kept faith with the midfielder and he has now signed a contract until June 2015.
His recovery is progressing well and Ben Arfa, who started his career at Lyon before an €11 million move to Marseille in 2008, will make his return to first-team action as a permanent member of the Newcastle playing staff.
"I am absolutely delighted to be signing for Newcastle United on a permanent basis," Ben Arfa told the club's official website. "During my short time at the club, I thoroughly enjoyed playing for the team and for the supporters too. This is a great club and I am very happy to be committing my future to them.
"I am getting back to fitness as quickly as I can and am really looking forward to getting back to St. James' Park, seeing the lads again and of course working with Alan Pardew and his staff. During my time out, I have been inundated with messages of support from fans and I want to repay them all with good performances on the pitch later this season."
Pardew said: "When I came to the club last month, one of my priorities was to secure Hatem on a permanent deal. The last thing I wanted was for us to lose him when his loan ended so we're really pleased to have agreed that deal today.
"He's obviously a top player and he's shown that in France, at international level and in his short time here at Newcastle. I'm delighted to secure Hatem as my first signing and once he's back fit, I have no doubt he'll confirm just what a superb player he is."
It is also reported on Wednesday that Newcastle have rejected an approach from Tottenham for their top-scorer Andy Carroll.