Assistant manager John Carver indicates neither youngster is likely to face Spurs on Saturday following the Magpies unbeaten start to the Premier League season
Midfielder Ben Arfa most recently completed a spell of personal leave in Tunisia, while defender Santon has taken part in two 90-minute outings for the reserves in the last fortnight.
However, Spurs' visit on Saturday is likely too soon for either player to feature in manager Alan Pardew's plans, according to Carver.
"He's [Ben Arfa] fine, and he’s back," he told the Sunderland Echo.
"Obviously, he’ll be a bit frustrated because he’s not playing, but it’s healthy competition.
"He understands that, and he knows that if he wants to come into the team, he has to be better than the guy who is in that position.
"Whenever that time is, whether it be Sunday or in two weeks, he must train to his maximum and make sure when the opportunity comes along he steps in there."
20-year-old Santon has yet to make an appearance this season after a knee injury surfaced following his August move from Inter Milan, and Carver indicates the Italian will probably have to wait for his debut.
"I don’t think there’s any need to change things if you’re winning," he added.
"There’s competition for places, and certainly at this stage last year that wasn’t here.
"When you haven’t got competition, it can give players a false sense of security. People can’t relax thinking they’re an automatic choice.
"In every position we have at the moment, there’s somebody waiting in the wings. That’s a huge advantage for us.
"The manager’s used Ryan Taylor as a great example.
"Ryan couldn’t see where his opportunity was going to happen. He was playing right-back, left-back and in midfield in pre-season.
"But he had an opportunity, and has done exceptionally well in that position.
"It just shows you don’t know when that opportunity will come, but when it does, you have to rise to it and make sure you’re ready."
The Magpies are in fourth place after seven matches in the Premier League this season, with four wins, three draws, and no defeats.