There are four days to go before the closure of the transfer window and plenty of action left. Having disappointed several clubs by declaring his desire to stay at Barcelona only a few weeks ago, Ibrahim Afelay is now available after new Barca boss Tito Vilanova has decided the Dutchman is not part of his plans, according to the Metro.
With the emergence of Crisitian Tello and Isaac Cuenca adding to the star studded Barca midfielder, Affelay has found himself on the fringes of the Catalan giants squad. Vilanova is keen to sell the midfielder yet Affelay is interested more in a loan deal in an attempt to show his new boss exactly what he is missing.
Despite not being wanted at the Nou Camp, Afelay is certainly not short of suitors. Newcastle United, Arsenal, Liverpool and Spurs are closely following the Dutchman, who has already rejected approaches from Lille and Besiktas. The Metro reports that so far Spurs are the only side to make official contact over the player, yet Brendan Rodgers could also be tempted into another loan deal as he looks to strengthen his squad before Friday.
Afelay was extremely unlucky during his time at Barcelona, only making 20 appearances since joining the Spanish side at the beginning of 2011. The midfielder showed his talents in a lack-lustre Dutch side at this summers European Championships, talents that soon could be on display in the Premier League. Yet the real question remains to be answered – is Afelay worth the tussle for these fours clubs.
Let’s start with Arsenal. Arsene Wenger’s side have already signed Santi Cazorla, Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski this summer to bolster their attacking options showing the French manager has not been afraid to open his chequebook. Additionally, Afelay’s skills and natural flair make him an Arsenal-esque player if ever there was one. However Wenger may believe he has enough talents in the attacking department after this summer’s spending and instead will be likely looking to replace the recently departed Alex Song. One has to think as well that if the Gunners really wanted Afelay they would have pushed for him to be involved in the Song deal in some way.
In contrast, Alan Pardew has hardly opened his wallet this summer. The Magpies have brought in Vurnon Anita, Romain Amalfitano and Gael Birigimana this summer to strenghthen their midfield and may like to add Afelay to this list. Yet despite their interest, with Cheick Tiote, Hatem Ben Arfa and Yohann Cabaye also in their midfield squad Newcastle have proven Premier League talent as they look to compete for a Champions League place. Afelay may also struggle to fit into the 4-4-2 system operated by PArdew, preferring a forward role in a 4-3-3.
That leaves Spurs and Liverpool. Brendan Rodgers will no doubt be more impressed with his sides performance in their 2-2 draw with Manchester City. Rodgers’ ‘tiki taka’ philosophy started to take shape in a game where the Reds controlled large periods of possession and would have taken 3 points had it not been for Martin Skrtel’s tragic error.
Afelay would certainly fit into the Rodgers 4-3-3 scheme, yet the Liverpool boss has already made significant additions to his midfield this summer and is more likely in the market for another striker to replace Andy Carroll should he leave.
That leaves Spurs. Andre Villas-Boas has been non-existent in this transfer window other than bringing Emmanuel Adebayor back to White Hart Lane. With Luka Modric joining Madrid today and Rafael van der Vaart interested in a move back to Germany, Afelay could be a much-needed attacking option for this Spurs side.
Tottenham fans may be weary of taking an attacking midfielder from Barcelona, as Giovani dos Santos made the same move yet never settled into the Premier League. However Afelay has the class and ability to be a top midfielder in the Barclays Premier League if he’s given his chance. For me, Spurs definitely should have a punt on the attacking midfielder.
One thing is for sure is that Spurs need to sharpen up after their opening two fixtures. Losing Modric is a big blow, yet adding Afelay might be just the remedy they need to bring victories back to White Hart Lane.
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