It is fair to say that when Ibrahim Afellay swapped PSV for Barcelona in January he wouldn’t have expected to be considering a transfer so quickly, but there now appears to be a distinct possibility that it may happen. Appearances have been kept to a minimum and he hasn’t set La Ligaon fire as of yet, his spot on the substitute bench at the Nou Camp must be a second home at this point.
The player’s ability was recognised from a very young age, he joined the PSV youth academy in 1996, and he made great improvements under their tutelage. He made his debut when he was 17, during the 03-04 campaign, but it was 2 years later that he became a fixture in the Dutch sides starting XI.
The tricky winger was constantly linked with moves away from the Eredivise over the years, many of these interested parties were supposedly in England, however he stuck with the Dutch side and he became one of their most important players. Clearly this wasn’t going to remain for the whole of his career and ultimately he moved on, a deal was agreed that saw him move to the Catalan capital in January, the fee was £2.6million and he signed a contract that would keep him at his new club until 2015.
It appears however that after only a few months things may not be too rosy. There have been reports for a while suggesting that the player is frustrated with his lack of first team opportunities and some parties have suggested that he may be looking for a move already, many of these claims have been from the press but there could easily be something behind these stories. His agent however has stated recently that the player is happy and insisted that he wanted to remain with the European Champions.
I suppose the important factor in all of this is that these comments from the player’s representative came before the Catalan side completed the signing of Alexis Sanchez, a hugely talented player that occupies the same positions as the Dutchman. There is incredible competition amongst the forwards at Barcelona, Afellay is competing with Pedro, Villa, Sanchez and of course Lionel Messi, his playing opportunities appear to be even lower this season than they were last time around and he is running a real risk of becoming the forgotten man at the Nou Camp.
All this will come as music to the ears of Harry Redknapp, who according to The Mirror, is thought to be extremely interested in the 25 year old. The attacking midfielder will soon be entering his prime and he should be playing week in week out, not just in domestic cup games, or as cover for injured players. It would clearly be a great shame for such a talent be wasted and I believe that Tottenham is the sort of club where he could really develop his game and prosper.
There has previously been interest from Liverpool, with Kenny Dalglish believed to be a keen admirer of the player’s talents, as well as from Arsenal, so it is unclear whether Spurs are as close to the signing as The Mirror are claiming. The newspaper are reporting that Tottenham chief scout, Ian Broomfield, watched the attacking midfielder play for Barcelona against Brazilian side Internacional after which he supposedly sent a report straight to Harry Redknapp.
Afellay is a tremendous talent and he deserves the chance to prove his ability on the biggest stages, granted he hasn’t been in Barcelona for long, but he seems further away from the first team than ever. I really think it might be time for him to move on. Tottenham would be signing a fantastic footballer. he would offer them something different to what they already have, he is less about speed than Lennon and Bale and his link up play with van der Vaart could be very prosperous. There is no word of fee or wage demands, but I am sure it would be a move that the hierarch at White Hart Lane could afford to sanction.
Clearly he may decide to stay and fight for his place, and you would have to respect that decision, but he must think carefully. He is now entering his prime and another year on the sidelines could really damage his future career, and that would be a real shame.