Only recently, Kain Watson made the case for Hatem Ben Arfa not being an effective player, at least from a statistical standpoint. Indeed, he has managed only a handful of starts this season, with his appearances seeming to bear little effect on the outcome and is in danger of being frozen out the same way Spanish playmaker Juan Mata has been at Chelsea.
Where Chelsea have reeled in Mohamed Salah from FC Basel as his replacement, Newcastle could perhaps look to one Clement Grenier should Ben Arfa or indeed Cabaye eventually choose to seek greener pastures.
Grenier has previously attracted attention from top-flight Premier League clubs such as Arsenal and Liverpool and it’s not hard to see why- he appears to have no weaker foot, both capable of executing high-quality assists from thumping crosses to delicate through-balls and volleyed goals. Although not the most prolific of attacking midfielders, some his contributions this season have been the sole difference between the opponent, bagging notable victories in the Europa League where Lyon have thrived this season.
He has also gained repute as a dead-ball specialist, with his efforts against Rennais and Nice reminiscent of ex-Lyon midfielder Juninho Pernambucano.
Where others will opt for a lofted ball into the box, the Frenchman can instead add a more incisive edge to free-kicks from further out. Some may also remember him for an ingeniously improvised backheel flick goal in a friendly against Real Madrid. In most games, Grenier tends to advance forth from a primarily central position to attack the defence from both wings and through the middle, causing problems for the defence.
Despite not having the ability to directly take on and beat defenders that Ben Arfa perhaps has, he more than compensates for this with intelligent and assured play that Arsenal scout Gilles Grimandi thinks ‘reminds him of Nasri’.
The midfielder also fits the distinctly French identikit that Newcastle have based their transfer policy on and will make a seamless transition to life across the Channel, no doubt with the aid of his compatriots. Interest from both Arsenal and Liverpool have waned and valued at £10 million, Grenier will be a more economical and in some circles, a better option if the Cabella transfer fails to materialise.
Have you seen Clement Grenier play? Do you think he would be a good fit at Newcastle?