Now Ben Arfa insists he has finally found the right team to realise his undoubted potential.
He said: "I have joined a big club with some really astonishing supporters.
"When I came here I wondered what I would find - but it is exactly the sort of club I left behind in Marseille. They have the same passion among the fans, the same sense that the club dominates everything in the city.
"It was a great experience at Marseille, even though I had to leave. It is a great thing when you play in front of passionate fans. You want to give them something back and do your best for them.
"So this has been a bit of a dream debut for me. I am so happy to have scored. I just looked up and shot."
Ben Arfa denies that he has lowered his standards by leaving the French champions for a team who have just been promoted.
He added: "Sometimes in football you have to take a risk. It doesn't feel like a newly-promoted club because there are so many good players here."