Olympique de Marseille have confirmed the signing of France winger Hatem Ben Arfa for an undisclosed fee from Ligue 1 champions Olympique Lyonnais.
No further details of the transfer have been released but Marseille coach Erik Gerets expressed his satisfaction at the club's latest signing. "Ben Arfa will bring a lot to the team, he is an extraordinary player," Gerets said. "He scores goals, he is able to create and he really wants to succeed at Marseille. He is very motivated. It is an important transfer for the club. He still has not reached his peak, but he is already a player I rate very highly." The 21-year-old has won six caps for France but was not selected as part of Raymond Domenech's UEFA EURO 2008™ squad despite making the original 30-man short list for the finals.
A product of Lyon's youth system, Ben Arfa scored seven goals in his 64 league appearances for the club and Marseille president Pape Diouf said: "The negotiations were not easy because Hatem is a boy who is an international, he has made a big impact in the league with his class and ability. We are very pleased to have come to an agreement with Lyon. He is a player who can help us achieve our goals."
Meanwhile, Marseille reserve goalkeeper Cédric Carrasso has joined Toulouse FC with Rudy Riou going the other way to become Steve Mandanda's new understudy. Having finished third in Ligue 1, Marseille are in the draw for the third qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League while title-holders Lyon enter the group stage directly.
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