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Ibrahim Afellay: The Newest Barcelona Player

Earlier this week, Barcelona all but confirmed the signing of Ibrahim Afellay from PSV Eindhoven. The fee is believed to be in the region of 2-5 million Euros, and in anticipation of the move, I have compiled a little information on our newest signing.

Afellay was born on the 2nd of April 1986 and stands 5’11" which amazingly will make him one of the tallest attacking players at Barcelona. He could have represented Morocco at international level but chose to play for the country of his birth, Holland. To date, he has received 30 international caps, although mostly from the bench, and scored 2 goals. Afellay is right footed but can operate from either side to equally devastating effect.

During his career at PSV, Afellay has proved himself as an attacking midfielder, but at Barcelona, I expect him to operate as a back-up to the midfield duo of Xavi and Iniesta. It could prove vital given Xavi’s recent injury problems that Barca have another accomplished playmaker to replace him. In the absence of Xavi the team has not played as well, but with Afellay all but signed, Guardiola appears to have addressed this problem.

However, Afellay has started all but four games from the squads he has been named in domestically since the start of the 2008/09 season, and even then he came on as a sub in those four. This could mean that he will not be willing to be a benchwarmer forever (like some Real players) and despite his obvious talent, I cannot see him becoming a first team regular in the immediate future. It remains to be seen whether he is willing to accept a substitute role for a prolonged time.

Another quality that distinguishes Afellay possesses is his calm demeanour. In his whole career, he has not been sent off once. It proves that his decision making is good in regards to the fact hat he seems to know when to tackle and when not to. It also shows amazing maturity that has never made reckless challenges. Afellay was/is so important to PSV, which reflects in his status as captain of the ream and I hope he will become as important to Barca.

Ibrahim Afellay - Welcome to Barcelona {HD} (via Panos13United)

Anyone wondering why Barcelona are willing to pay a price for a player whose contract runs out next June should look at this seasons stats. Ibrahim has so far scored 5 in 14 for PSV in the Eredivisie and was outstanding in that freak 10-0 win against Feyenoord. Not to mention his brace for Holland, which he bagged in the 4-1 victory against Sweden earlier this season. Barcelona have recognised that we are witnessing a player who is beginning to truly reach his potential both on a domestic and international level.

Fingers crossed, he will improve further here at Barcelona!

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