HATEM Ben Arfa is out of Newcastle United’s season-opener against Arsenal – and the derby at Sunderland.
The winger suffered an ankle injury against Sporting Kansas City last week.
And after a thorough assessment, the club does not expect Ben Arfa to return to training for another four weeks, with the 24-year-old having damaged some ligaments.
And that means he will miss Arsenal’s visit to St James’s Park on August 13, and the derby at the Stadium of Light a week later.
More immediately, captain Fabricio Coloccini and midfielder Cheik Tiote are doubts for tonight’s final tour game against Columbus Crew with slight problems.
And Ryan Taylor – who suffered a groin injury in Saturday’s defeat at Orlando City – definitely won’t feature.
Jose Enrique has been hit with a fine by Newcastle for his Twitter outburst.
Unsettled Enrique let rip at the club’s transfer policy in an emotional series of tweets on the social networking site.
And the defender, expected to leave before the transfer window closes this summer, is paying the price after being docked two weeks’ wages.
Enrique’s tweets angered the club’s hierarchy, who have been frustrated in their attempts to talk to him about a new deal at St James’s Park, with his present contract expiring next year.
Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe has emerged as a striking target for Newcastle United.
But the club will first make a final attempt to push through a deal for Paris Saint-Germain’s Melvut Erding, the subject of a reported 6.5m bid.
Defoe’s team-mate Peter Crouch is another possible target should Newcastle fail to prise Erding, 24, away from the Parc des Princes.