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Ben Arfa will be the Neymar of France’s amateur leagues, claims agent

11:37 EAT 06/09/2017
Hatem Ben Arfa PSG
In a time when players have been criticised for not respecting their contracts, the ex-Newcastle man's agent has hit out at PSG's behaviour

Hatem Ben Arfa’s agent has launched a scathing attack on Paris Saint-Germain, suggesting that the Ligue 1 giants have condemned his client to playing a level well below his talents.

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The France attacker was signed on a free transfer from Nice last summer but failed to win over head coach Unai Emery and has been consigned to PSG’s reserve team after turning down the opportunity to move to Nice or Saint-Etienne at the end of the transfer window.

While there have been numerous cases of clubs criticising players for not respecting their contracts in recent weeks – Ousmane Dembele striking to push through a move to Barcelona from Borussia Dortmund, for example – Jean-Jacques Bertrand says Ben Arfa’s case shows where the balance of power remains.

“He'll be the Neymar of the CFA,” the agent told RMC, referring to France’s amateur ranks, where Ben Arfa will find himself playing. “In any case, I hope he will be!

“We’ve seen so much about players who have not respected their contracts being called to order. But this is a case to the contrary we want the club to respect their obligations towards the player.

“It’s as if Hatem had no contract: you leave, you have nothing and you can ask for nothing. We can’t do things that way.”

Ben Arfa’s relationship with PSG’s hierarchy has been frosty since he made a “simple joke”, according to the agent, about president Nasser Al-Khelaifi during a meeting with the Emir Tamim Al-Thani.

“He’s never been able to meet him since he signed his contract with PSG, despite many requests,” Bertrand grumbled.

PSG’s reserves play in the Championnat National 2, the fourth tier of French football but the highest they are permitted to play at, which includes both semi-professional and amateur clubs. They are presently 11th out of 16 teams in Group B.