NEWCASTLE United target Hatem Ben Arfa has jetted into Tyneside – after apparently walking out on Olympique Marseille.
The winger had his photo taken by a fan at Newcastle Airport last night, and is holed up in a city hotel waiting on developments.
But Newcastle and Marseille are yet to reach an agreement on the terms of a season-long loan – or a sale – and Ben Arfa and his representatives are in limbo until a deal is in place.
However, it can only be a matter of time before Ben Arfa becomes a United player, the France international – who scored against Norway in midweek – seemingly set on a switch to St James's Park, with his relationship with coach Didier Deschamps having completely broken down.
The 23-year-old was left out of the Marseille squad for the weekend's game against Valenciennes after refusing to train, and after missing a scheduled meeting with Deschamps yesterday, he boarded a flight to England.
Ben Arfa's agent Frederic Guerra said: "Hatem will go to Newcastle.
"The relations between him and Deschamps have reached the point of no return.
"All we want is for the Marseille directors to step back a bit and engineer the way to let him go there. Back in July, Deschamps told us to find a new club, and we have done."
Marseille sporting director Jose Anigo is confident a "solution" can be found, and a move agreed.
Anigo said: "I know Hatem is a good boy. He's like one of my children to me, but when there are conflicts I am always open to discussion.
"I hope that we will find a solution. I would prefer it if his agent spoke to us rather than communicate through the press.
"He knows fine well what happens in the world of football. If there is an agreement, there has to be a salesman and a buyer."