Ben Arfa dropped after missing training

MARSEILLE - France midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa has been dropped by Olympique Marseille for Saturday's Ligue 1 trip to Valenciennes after he missed training for the second day in succession.

A tense standoff developed between both parties on Friday, with the gifted but temperamental 23-year-old desperate to leave for English Premier League Newcastle United but the Ligue 1 champions saying he would stay.

"Hatem is part of our squad and it will stay that way," chairman Jean-Claude Dassier told reporters.

"There is no serious offer from Newcastle. It's a crazy situation."

Coach Didier Deschamps, irritated by the transfer situation with Senegal striker Mamadou Niang also demanding a move, declined to comment.

Marseille suffered a shock 2-1 home defeat by promoted Caen last weekend and are keen to sign Brazil striker Luis Fabiano from Sevilla.

Sevilla coach Antonio Alvarez suggested on Thursday a deal was close, saying he would not lose any sleep if Marseille's interest led to Luis Fabiano leaving.

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