Ben Arfa in talks with Barcelona

Barcelona have opened talks with Hatem Ben Arfa as they look to strengthen their squad ahead of next season, according to Nice president Jean-Pierre Rivere.

The Catalans are keen to add depth to their attacking ranks and Celta Vigo forward Nolito was reportedly a target to serve as a deputy to Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar.

However, a move for Nolito failed to materialise in the January transfer window and Barca have seemingly turned their attentions to a surprise swoop for Ben Arfa.

After starring as a youngster for Lyon and Marseille, Ben Arfa moved to Newcastle United but, after showing early promise, his career on Tyneside stalled and he returned to France with Nice.

The 29-year-old, whose contract runs out in June, has enjoyed a sublime season in Ligue 1, scoring 17 goals in 32 league matches, and Rivere would have no qualms about their star man moving to Camp Nou.

“I would be very happy for Ben Arfa and for Nice if this move comes off,” Rivere told France 3. “It proves Nice can have exceptional players.

“If I was a player and Barcelona was offered to me, I would not ask questions, I would go. You do not reject Barcelona, but it is up to him to decide.

“But it is not yet done according to what I am told.”


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