Arsenal and Chelsea to battle for Ben Arfa

Arsenal have emerged as rivals in the battle to sign Newcastle United star Hatem Ben Arfa in the summer according to the Mirror

The 25-year-old battled back from a double leg fracture, suffered in October 2010 against Manchester City, to become a vital part of Alan Pardew’s side in the second half of last season scoring six goals in 32 appearances.

Ben Arfa was arguably the Magpies’ best player from January onwards with a series of stunning displays helping to secure a top five finish in the Premier League and a place in the Europa League.

His performances haven’t gone unnoticed though and Chelsea are set to firm up their interest in the French international, who is currently competing at Euro 2012 with the national team, despite already signing Eden Hazard and Marko Marin.

The European Champions have a long standing interest in Ben Arfa having tracked him since he was at Marseille but will face competition from London rivals Arsenal for his signature.

Newcastle would loathe to lose the winger but he did admit earlier this month that he would consider leaving St James’ Park if a big club came calling with a irresistible offer.

“I’ve never felt as settled at a club as I do at Newcastle. I feel like I’m somebody important there, it’s a magnificent feeling,” Ben Arfa told L’Equipe.

“I haven’t forgotten the coach made me sign, even though I was only on loan from Marseille and I was injured.

“If I do not have a really, really serious proposal, I’ll stay. If a big club comes, but does not propose something interesting – that is to say, the coach really wants me – I’ll stay.

“If I do not feel the confidence of the [interested club’s] coach 100 per cent, I will not leave. Newcastle is a big club, even if there are bigger. I still have a three-year contract.”