Ben Arfa Barca Bound?

Hatem Ben ArfaEx Newcastle United attacker Hatem Ben Arfa has denied that he travelled to Barcelona on Monday to discuss a potential summer transfer.

Ben Arfa, 29, is wanted by a host of top clubs after scoring 17 goals to help Nice to fourth in Ligue 1 this season.

Nice president Jean Pierre-Rivere revealed on Friday that Barcelona had been in touch with the former Newcastle player but Lyon counterpart Jean-Michel Aulas later said that Ben Arfa had not yet agreed a deal with the Spanish champions.

Lyon’s hopes of beating Barcelona to Ben Arfa’s signature seemed to be slim when L’Equipe reported on Monday that the France international was travelling to Catalonia that morning.

By late afternoon, however, Ben Arfa released a statement through the Nice website in order to dismiss the latest rumour.

“I’m not at all travelling abroad, contrary to what I’ve read,” Ben Arfa said. “I’m in Nice.

“On the contrary, I’m only concentrated on preparing for the trip to Guingamp like all of my teammates. I’m 100 percent focused on my objectives with Nice.”

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On Tuesday, L’Equipe said that Ben Arfa had been due to fly from Paris to Barcelona the previous day. It claimed he had pulled out of the trip after missing the French player of the year awards ceremony in Paris on Sunday because he had a cold.

L’Equipe suggests that Ben Arfa has merely postponed his visit to Barcelona so that there will be less pressure on both him and Nice ahead of their final league game of the season.

Following a 2-0 win over Saint-Etienne last weekend that saw them move above the visitors in the table, Nice could still qualify for next season’s Champions League by finishing third in Ligue 1.

A win over Guingamp this Saturday would be good enough for that if Monaco slip up at home to Montpellier.