French Club targets Ben Arfa

AS Monaco are flush with cash and may have Ben Arfa in their sights - Michael Regan

Could the Frenchman be returning to Ligue 1?

An unusual situation is brewing over in France and Newcastle's Hatem Ben Arfa could be caught in it .

AS Monaco have won promotion into Ligue 1, and they have the backing of a new, very wealthy owner. Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev purchased the team and is looking to make a splash. And by splash, I mean "win Ligue 1". From a Guardian article:

Once their ascent to Ligue 1 has been confirmed, Monaco can start recruiting on another level, rivalling PSG and anyone else for the world's best players. Their first aim is believed to be getting back a couple of top France-based players whom they had to sell after relegation, buying back the central defender Nicolas N'Koulou from Marseille and the goalkeeper Stéphane Ruffier from Saint Etienne. After that, according to reports, they will turn their attention to Radamel Falcao, Carlos Tevez, Wayne Rooney, Edinson Cavani, and so on and so on.

You get the picture: money is no obstacle.

This has made other French clubs very nervous, to the point where they've moved to bar AS Monaco from taking part in the league. This is because, not only does the club have the backing of a billionaire, but it is located in the tax-free haven of Monaco. The other French clubs have said that they would bar any team from competing in the French League that is not headquartered in France for tax purposes.This did not go over well:

A compromise solution was put to the club in a meeting earlier this month, whereby Monaco would pay €200m (£170m) over six or seven years to persuade the other clubs to shelve their misgivings. A brazen hustle, reckoned Rybolovlev, who walked straight out of the room. Then Monaco launched legal proceedings with France's supreme court, declaring that the LFP's decision in March "violates several fundamental principles of French and European law, notably the principle of free movement, free competition, free access to sporting competitions, and also the Franco-Monégasque tax convention signed on the 18 February 1963".

AS Monaco has said they plan on spending 100 million pounds in transfers.

Part of that transfer appears to be Hatem Ben Arfa.

Ben Arfa, of course, got his start in France, and Monaco have been linked to the oft-injured star. According to the article linked, the sale of Ben Arfa could net Newcastle 10 million pounds.

At the moment, any substantial information is lacking, but this could be very interesting. Alan Pardew is probably keen on holding on the Ben Arfa, but if AS Monaco really want him, could the injection of cash be to much to resist? And what happens if AS Monaco lose their court case?

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