Marseille have finally completed the signing of French international playmaker Hatem Ben Arfa from Lyon after the clubs reached an agreement over his transfer, the French football league (LFP) announced today. The undisclosed fee was reportedly up to £20 million, and it was the exact price which initially stymied negotiations.
"The transfer (of Ben Arfa from Lyon to Marseille) is
sealed... from the date of June 30," read an LFP statement.
The player himself said on leaving the three-hour meeting of the
LFP's disciplinary commission: "I am relieved. The only
thing to say now is that I am a Marseille player."
Ben Arfa did, in fact, train with Marseille earlier today. He won his first senior France cap against Faroe Islands last year, but failed to make his country's final cut for UEFA EURO 2008.
The attacking midfielder, 21, is widely regarded as one of France's best rising stars, along with Lyon striker Karim Benzema and Samir Nasri, who is thought to be heading from Marseille to Arsenal. Ben Arfa, who had also been linked with a move to the Gunners, joined the Ligue 1 champions in 2004, aged only 17, and helped them to four consecutive league titles between 2005 and 2008.
Lyon are undergoing personnel changes as new coach Claude Puel prepares his squad for the coming season. The club are looking to focus their efforts on the UEFA Champions League - a tournament in which they have never before reached the last four.