Ben Arfa: I will not play for Marseille again

PARIS - France midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa says he will not play for Olympique Marseille again and told the Ligue 1 champions to let him move to Newcastle United.

A tense standoff has developed between club and player, with Ben Arfa saying he was desperate to join English side Newcastle and Marseille insisting he was staying.

Ben Arfa missed training for two days in a row and was dropped by Marseille coach Didier Deschamps for a Ligue 1 match on Saturday at Valenciennes, where the champions lost 3-2.

"I will not go back to the Commanderie (Marseille's training base)," Ben Arfa told French sports daily L'Equipe on Sunday. "It's over. I'm ready not to play this season."

Marseille said Newcastle had made no serious offer for the gifted but temperamental 23-year-old.

Ben Arfa, however, said a deal could be done.

"Newcastle have committed themselves to give Marseille what they were asking for, which is a loan with an option to buy me," he said.

Marseille president Jean-Claude Dassier reacted by condemning Ben Arfa's attitude but saying he remained opened to talks.

"We cannot accept Hatem Ben Arfa's attitude," Dassier told French radio station RTL. "A professional player must honour his contract.

"That said, I don't want to be the man who ruins Ben Arfa's career," Dassier added. "Let's try to talk and see if we can find a solution."

Marseille have started the defence of their title in terrible fashion, losing their first two league matches.

The club confirmed on Saturday that Senegal striker Mamadou Niang, last season's top scorer in Ligue 1 with 18 goals, was leaving them for Turkish side Fenerbahce.

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