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Ben Arfa keen to force his way in France's World Cup plans
NEWCASTLE UNITED'S Hatem Ben Arfa wants to be part of France's World Cup plans and has made the first move towards ending his feud with former boss Laurent Blanc.
Ben Arfa, who was at his scintillating best to help the Magpies win at Aston Villa on Saturday, is widely regarded as one of the most talented forwards in the Premier League.
But his place in next summer's Brazil finals remains in serious doubt having not figured for the national team since last year's European Championships.
And while Blanc has since been replaced by Didier Deschamps, who also had a run-in with the player during his time in charge at Marseille, he is still unsure what the future holds at international level.
He is now keen to draw a line under the whole furore and wants Blanc to know that he is sorry and has told Deschamps he still dreams of starring for his country.
France's Euro campaign was shrouded in controversy once more and Ben Arfa played his part. He reacted when he was told not to use his phone at half-time when Sweden were winning 2-0 in the group game.
The Newcastle man, speaking in a French magazine, said: "It is true that I messed it up. I had come out of this game very frustrated. I was only thinking about myself.
“And when Laurent Blanc made his remark about this phone call I received in the dressing room, instead of shutting my mouth, I talked back. I should not have. It's not correct. I regret this behaviour. I want to apologise to him.”
Ben Arfa's Newcastle career has been up and down because of a series of injuries, the first of which was a serious leg fracture after a horrible tackle from Nigel De Jong at Manchester City in October 2010.
But he has started this season confidently and looking sharp, so is hoping to have a chat with Deschamps in the hope it could end with a World Cup spot – with France guaranteed a play-off spot in qualification at least.
Ben Arfa's cause is hardly helped by the manner in which he left Marseille, when the 26-year-old forced through a move to Newcastle.
"We have crossed paths once since (the Marseille incident). We greeted each other, but it is true that our previous conversation had been a heated one," said Ben Arfa, who has 13 caps. “With Deschamps, it's different. I would rather explain myself to clear the air.”
He added: "I know I can bring something to this France team. But before claiming anything I need to be consistent at a high level with my club. If it works out well, I can't see why I would not go back to Les Bleus.”
By the time the World Cup comes around, Newcastle will hope to have added to their squad by then after failing to make further additions before the September 2 transfer deadline.
And CSKA Moscow striker Seydou Doumbia has been watched by chief scout Graham Carr and his scouting team. Everton are also believed to be interested.
The 25-year-old has scored 55 goals in 88 appearances for the Russian club since joining from Swiss club Young Boys for £8.3m in 2010.
Newcastle are also monitoring a number of goalkeepers. They are keen to have a back-up plan in case Tim Krul attracts big money offers, so Reading's Alex McCarthy and PSV Eindhoven's Jeroen Zoet are highest on the scouting list at the moment.
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