Departure To Newcastle United
On 22 July 2010, reports surfaced suggesting that English club Newcastle United were looking to sign Ben Arfa. After being questioned, Newcastle's manager Chris Hughton denied the reports. Five days later, Ben Arfa's agent declared that Newcastle were indeed interested in the player, along with German clubs Hoffenheim and Werder Bremen, Turkish club Galatasaray, and Italian club A.C. Milan. On 9 August, a season-long loan with an option to make the move permanent was reportedly being negotiated between the two clubs. However, a loan-fee for the deal could not be reached with Newcastle offering £650,000; £350,000 short of what Marseille wanted. On 12 August, Marseille president Jean-Claude Dassier announced that Ben Arfa would not be moving to Newcastle and even went as far as to say that an offer from the club had not even existed.
Similar to his actions in leaving Lyon, Ben Arfa responded to the statement by telling the French sports newspaper L'Equipe that he would not be returning to La Commanderie, Marseille's training facility, and would not play with the team for the remainder of the season. He also stated that his relationship with Deschamps had turned sour and was beyond repair. Ben Arfa confirmed his intentions by travelling to Newcastle upon Tyne, without authorization, with hopes that Newcastle and Marseille would come to an agreement. After returning to Marseille, he missed several training sessions with his parent club and was, subsequently, left off the match day squad for two league matches against Valenciennes and Lorient. Ben Arfa's number 10 was later given to new signing André-Pierre Gignac, which signaled a transfer was imminent.
On 19 August, a proposed move to Werder Bremen failed to come to fruition after the club's sporting director Klaus Allofs declared that the club was not interested in Ben Arfa, despite reports of Werder Bremen offering Marseille a transfer fee of €8 million. On 27 August, Dassier confirmed that the club had reached an agreement on a loan fee with Newcastle for the transfer of Ben Arfa with personal terms being the only stumbling block in the deal. Marseille agreed to a £2 million loan fee. Newcastle had been set to pay Marseille another £5 million if Ben Arfa had made 25 club appearances in the 2010–11 season, which would have made the transfer permanent.