Hatem Ben Arfa is a name that conjures up many and varied reactions across the football landscape.
Hull City fans never got to see the best of him, Newcastle United supporters will always wonder what could have been and Nice fans love what he brought to their team during the 12 months he was there.
The Parisian giants are supposedly willing to let him go on a free, which could make him an outside target for a number of Premier League clubs.
Ben Arfa’s situation at his current club has gone sour after he failed to find a move this summer.
The 30-year-old was omitted from the pre-season squad that travelled to America and now twice, much to the annoyance of the player and his lawyer, he has been asked to train with the reserves.
The first time a strongly worded letter got him back in, only for it to happen again. Now they are threatening to sue the club due to their behaviour. Ben Arfa does have a case, with the official Ligue 1 rules stating that professionally-contracted players should only be demoted on a temporary basis for reasons linked exclusively to the management of the squad.
“What was presented as a temporary measure is in fact permanent in disguise. It's a lack of respect for a staff member – a real freezing out,” said his lawyer Jean-Jacques Bertrand.
His client has yet to play a single minute in Ligue 1 this term; his last appearance coming during a two minute cameo off the bench against Lorient in March.
Ben Arfa’s last assist was in November last year and his last goal in the league came when he played for Nice.
Not a glowing recommendation for a player who has been troubled throughout his career, and is now over the age of 30.
However, it was that spell at Nice that should give him one last chance.
Everyone thought his time was up after he left Hull City and couldn’t join Les Aiglons in January 2014. Having to wait until the new campaign to play could have easily been the end of his turbulent journey.
Ben Arfa stuck in, though, got fit and his performances for the Cote d'Azur side were outstanding.
No longer just a No.10, he played out wide and as a centre-forward, using his attributes perfectly to create havoc.
The first surprise was that he played 34 games. Even more impressive were the six assists and 17 goals. If it wasn’t for the glut of options Didier Deschamps had in that position, plus his history of not taking difficult characters and Ben Arfa’s time at Marseille, he could have been an option at Euro 2016 for Les Bleus.
Regarded as one of the best players in the league and available on a free transfer, PSG swooped for the local boy come good in the summer of 2016 and it was a fairytale move for Ben Arfa.
That reality has become a nightmare though. On paper it was never going to be a good fit. Javier Pastore had already spent years struggling to find space for the Parisians to play with a No.10.
Once coach Unai Emery's attempts to play 4-2-3-1 were vetoed by the players, Ben Arfa was never going to force his way into the front three.
Although he made 23 appearances, he started just five times last term. With the arrivals of Neymar and Kylian Mbappé, plus Julian Draxler’s move from Wolfsburg to PSG last January, a smart player would have called it a day and found a new challenge before the new campaign.
But Ben Arfa dug in his heels and has been suitably punished.
His one contribution to the squad this season was to injury Neymar in training, forcing the world-record signing to miss the draw with Montpellier.
It’s hard to know what Ben Arfa still has to offer, after all no-one has seen him play 90 minutes since November. We’ve not even had a smiling Instagram pose, like a hostage victim pretending they are OK, since September.
Rennes have already shown interest in the playmaker after they suffered an injury to summer signing Ismaïla Sarr. But after approaching his people, it's unclear whether he wants to stay in France.
England is always going to be his destination of choice. It is a stage he failed to really shine on. With Nice he proved to everyone he was able to dominate in France, now the Premier League is calling.
You can’t play him as a winger in a club that plays 4-3-3, he doesn’t defend and you will be left short. 4-4-2 could work, but only as one of the strikers.
What would work best, though, is a club that has gone back to a three-man defence, plays wing-backs and wants two forwards playing off the main striker.
A cheap replacement for Mesut Özil at Arsenal might be too much of a stretch, but teams like Stoke City and Watford would suit him. Even Everton, struggling for goals, could take a punt on him still being hungry to succeed, or West Ham.
Then to Newcastle United, Rafa Benítez and their counter-attacking 4-2-3-1. Could Ben Arfa return to the club that loves him most and finally have a chance to light up St James’ Park? It sounds far-fetched, but stranger things have happened.
On a free transfer, as long as his wage demands aren’t ridiculous, he is a low-risk signing; someone you can give a shot to and cut loose if it doesn’t work out.
Ben Arfa will be willing to give his all in order to get his career back on track , just– not in terms of tracking back and defending.
Sign him up, put him in the attack, give him the ball and hope he still has magic left in his boots. He's a roll of the dice worth taking.