Arsenal to beat Chelsea for Newcastle star

Hatem Ben Arfa prefers a move to Emirates than Stamford Bridge

Arsenal have emerged as favourites to land Newcastle winger Hatem Ben Arfa.

The Gunners have emerged as rivals to Chelsea's interest in the 25-year-old talent, according to the Mirror.

 

European champions Chelsea have been impressed by the French star and put him on the radar for some time.

But Arsenal are now ahead in the race for the Toon star after having acquired Cologne striker Lukas Podolski and lined up Montpellier striker Olivier Giroud.

Ben Arfa is keen to play first team football and is believed to have welcomed the interest, as he fears he would not play regularly if he were at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea have already clinched the signings of midfielders Eden Hazard of Lille and Marko Marin of Werder Bremen for next season, following the exit of Didier Drogba.

Ben Arfa, currently on Euro 2012 duty with France in Polkraine, joined Newcastle on loan from Marseille in August 2010.

He returned to first-team action last September after almost a full year on the sidelines after being out with a broken leg.

Ben Arfa made 32 appearances for the Magpies as they played their way to an unlikely Europa League spot when many observers had tipped them for relegation.

As his match fitness improved, he became more of threat, scoring all six of his goals for the season between Boxing Day and the end of the campaign - including a brilliant effort after dribbling from his own half against Bolton.

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Arsenal to beat Chelsea for Newcastle star