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Lyon sell young prodigy Ben Arfa to rivals Marseille

Latest update : 2008-06-26

Marseille have confirmed the imminent signing of the talented midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa from French champions Olympique Lyon. The move comes as Marseille's playmaker Samir Nasri is reportedly negotiating a transfer to Arsenal.

French champions Lyon have agreed to sell international midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa to rivals Marseille, the Mediterranean side announced on its website on Wednesday.

Marseille, who were third in the league last season, said that Ben Arfa would undergo a medical later in the day to clinch the deal, thought to be in in the region of 15 to 20 million euros.

The 21-year-old French international will sign a four-year deal, the website said, adding that the player will be officially unveiled on Thursday or Friday.

Ben Arfa won his first full cap against the Faroe Islands last year, but failed to make the final cut for the French Euro 2008 squad.

The attacking midfielder is widely regarded as one of France's best rising stars, along with Lyon striker Karim Benzema and Samir Nasri, who is thought to be heading to Arsenal.

Ben Arfa - who had also been linked with a move to the Gunners - joined the French champions in 2004, aged only 17, and helped them to four consecutive championships between 2005 and 2008.

Lyon are undergoing personnel changes as new coach Claude Puel prepares his squad for the coming season.

Earlier this month French international goalkeeper Gregory Coupet announced he wanted to leave after 11 seasons to pursue a career abroad, with Atletico Madrid rumoured to be interested in the veteran stopper.

The club are looking to focus their efforts on the Champions League - a tournament in which they have never before reached the last eight.

Date created : 2008-06-25