By Dan King
Hatem Ben Arfa has become Alan Pardew's first signing as Newcastle United manager, after the French international joined The Magpies on a permanent deal on Wednesday.
The 23-year-old midfielder joined United on loan from Olympique de Marseille in September, and showed his quality with a stunning winner against Everton on his full debut before suffering a broken leg at Manchester City in October.
But with his recovery going well, Pardew has acted quickly to sign the fans' favourite on a contract until June 2015.
Ben Arfa said: "I am absolutely delighted to be signing for Newcastle United on a permanent basis. During my short time at the club, I thoroughly enjoyed playing for the team and for the supporters too. This is a great club and I am very happy to be committing my future to them.
"I am getting back to fitness as quickly as I can and am really looking forward to getting back to St. James' Park, seeing the lads again and of course working with Alan Pardew and his staff.
"During my time out, I have been inundated with messages of support from fans and I want to repay them all with good performances on the pitch later this season."
A product of the famous Clairefontaine Academy, the attacking midfielder began his career with Lyon in 2004, where he spent four years and represented his country at youth, under-21 and senior level.
An €11 million move to Marseille followed in 2008 before he arrived in the Barclays Premier League with Newcastle this season.
Manager Alan Pardew commented: "When I came to the club last month, one of my priorities was to secure Hatem on a permanent deal. The last thing I wanted was for us to lose him when his loan ended so we're really pleased to have agreed that deal today.
"He's obviously a top player and he's shown that in France, at international level and in his short time here at Newcastle. I'm delighted to secure Hatem as my first signing and once he's back fit, I have no doubt he'll confirm just what a superb player he is."
Newcastle United's Managing Director Derek Llambias added: "Bringing Hatem on loan earlier in the season was quite a coup, but to sign him permanently on a long-term deal is even better.
"Alan Pardew made it clear that he wanted Hatem here beyond his loan spell so we have backed him and made that happen. Hatem is exactly the type of player that we want here; a young international class player with his best years ahead of him. And now those years will be spent at St. James' Park."