Pardew has plans for Ben Arfa
Midfielder set to play key attacking role for Newcastle next season
By Patrick Haond. Last Updated: 01/04/11 9:01pm
Ben Arfa: Back in training
Alan Pardew has revealed that he wants Hatem Ben Arfa to play in a central role for Newcastle next season and score 10 to 15 goals.
The 24-year-old has not played for Newcastle since suffering a broken leg in October's game against Manchester City, but he remains a big part of Pardew's plans for the future after turning his loan deal into a permanent arrangement.
Pardew, who only succeeded Chris Hughton as manager after Ben Arfa picked up the injury, is looking forward to having the player available for selection.
An early April comeback had to be put on hold but Ben Arfa has now begun training again at the Clairefontaine complex in his native France.
The Magpies are ready to welcome him back to Tyneside and Pardew feels there is a chance he could return to competitive action before the end of the season.
Pardew is already thinking of how best to utilise Ben Arfa when he is fully fit next term, and hopes he can become one of Newcastle's most potent attacking weapons.
"After such an injury you have to be patient. We don't want to burn him out," Pardew told L'Equipe.
"The objective is to help Hatem to feel back at ease both in his body and mind. His rehabilitation has gone well, our doctors have been in constant contact with Clairefontaine's medical team.
"I have had several talks with Hatem. He has spent a lot of time in France during the last few months, so it is essential for him to adapt again to daily life in a group and get focused on the Magpies.
"We rely on him, above all, for next season, but we won't rule out anything.
"If he can play one, two or three matches before the end of May, it would be fine both for us and him.
"Next season? He will play a central role in our attacking line. I want to use him as a playmaker, a number 10, just behind one forward.
"I am convinced he is able to score between 10 and 15 goals a season."
Pardew added: "We will think about how to protect him during matches.
"Our expectations are big but once again we will go slowly. The end to this season will allow us to see if he has not lost his acceleration quality."