‘Real Madrid want Hatem Ben Arfa’ – Puel

Nice boss Claude Puel has claimed that Real Madrid have an interest in French attacker Hatem Ben Arfa.

The 28-year-old has scored seven times in 18 Ligue 1 appearances this season after being cleared to play for Nice following a January move from Newcastle United.

Puel has said that the attacker’s form has not gone unnoticed, with Real Madrid keeping a close eye on developments with the Frenchman.

“I am not surprised to hear that big clubs such as Real Madrid are keeping tabs on him. Hatem has become part of the club, just like Mathieu Bodmer when he joined us from PSG,” Puel told Nice Matin.

“I do not agree with those who say Hatem needs to be at a small club in order to deliver his best performances. I hope for him that he no longer plays for Nice next season.

“The high level he has been playing at is not just some isolated dazzling performances. He has been very consistent and has been working very hard.”

Ben Arfa started his professional career with Lyon, before moving on to Marseille and later Newcastle, where he spent four seasons following an initial loan spell at St James’ Park.

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