Liverpool’s hopes of signing Nabil Fekir from Lyon appear to have been handed a boost today with word out of France that his current club have identified out of contract PSG attacking midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa as his replacement.
A number of French outlets, including L’Equipe, have suggested Ben Arfa is the intended target, and Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has promised a “big name” signing—though he danced around a little when pressed on the matter.
“It’s not that we aren’t considering his return, but we have done enough talking in recent years,” Aulas said when asked point blank if Lyon would look to sign Ben Arfa should Fekir depart the club as expected this summer.
“Two years ago, we were in advanced contact talks [with Ben Arfa] before Seville and then PSG intervened. I do not want a repeat of this. But if we speak, if there are departures, and if there is interest on his part then why not?”
The now 31-year-old Ben Arfa got his start as a professional at Lyon, playing there for four seasons before moving on to Marseille, Newcastle, and then eventually heading to Paris Saint-Germain. It’s a move that has not worked out for him.
He spent much of last season injured, and when he was fit he was frozen out of the first team picture entirely. Now, he’s out of contract and could be had on a free transfer, though his wage demands are expected to be significant.
Along with talk of a return to Lyon, there has been speculation he could head back to England to rejoin Newcastle, though if Lyon can make space for his wages by sell Nabil Fekir then the Ligue 1 club seems his most likely destination.