Newcastle rebel Hatem Ben Arfa is embroiled in a dispute with the Tynesiders over their desire to fine him for returning to training too fat.
With the influx of attacking arrivals at St James’ Park, it appears the former Marseille man is not long for life in the north east, but before he bids the Magpies bon voyage Alan Pardew wants to prise £1,500 out of the Frenchman’s wallet.
The figure represents a pound for every additional gram of timber he’s carrying, which he’s been instructed to lose while training with the development squad as his teammates warm up for the forthcoming Premier League campaign in New Zealand.
Ben Arfa, though, believes the extra 1.5kg he’s tipped on the scales is owed to additional hours pumping iron, not munching pies.
Conspiracy theorists may argue that the club are taking this hard line in order to get the enigmatic winger to accept a move to the unidentified Ukrainian outfit the Mirror are reporting he won’t join.
Whether it’s Newcastle skulduggery or Ben Arfa has actually been piling the pounds on, here are three instances of employers taking drastic measures in the war against the widening waistline.
West Ham – Benni McCarthy
Outspoken owner and dieting sensei David Sullivan deduced the South African’s misfiring was owed to the player being overweight and set him a target of losing a kilo a week.
Failure to slim down accordingly would result in him being docked a week’s wages.
This appears an exacting, scientific method to ensuring optimum body mass index is maintained, but if the Champions League winner was ever fined, it would’ve been a bit harsh:
“They say he’s lost five kilos, but he still looks heavy to me,” was Sullivan’s expert assessment of McCarthy’s weight loss attempts.
Aston Villa – David Ginola
John Gregory refused to select the French orchestrator for over-inflating, citing ‘all that time off he’s had and because he’s 33’ as his mitigation.
A career in sales doesn’t beckon for the Crawley Town boss, who publically stated that if Ginola didn’t shed the pounds he’d have to find someone else to pay his wages, apparently unaware that the overweight pensioners market was entirely saturated.
Corinthians – Adriano
Fed up with his swollen gut and frequent failures to turn up to training, Corinthians placed the ballooning Brazilian under house arrest in an effort to get him to lose weight.
Their pop-up fat camp proved largely unsuccessful, or so the fact that they sacked their guinea pig just a few weeks after it was erected suggests.