The 27-year-old Dutch winger spent last season on loan with Bundesliga side Schalke where he made just 13 appearances in all competitions.
He moved on loan to Germany due to his limited access to the first team in Catalonia where he made just 4 La Liga appearances the previous season.
The Netherlands international made his name in his homeland with PSV Eindhoven but since his €3 million move to the Camp Nou, Afellay has been a peripheral player, compounded by his struggled with injury.
He ruptured his cruciate ligament in 2011 and spent 6 months sidelined amongst other more minor strains and niggles (a month out here, a couple months there) but his recent injury at the beginning of this month makes his hopes of playing regular first-team football at Barcelona even less substantial.
El Mundo Deportivo reports that new Malaga boss Bernd Schuster is hoping to sign him once he is back to full fitness after his minor muscle injury later on this summer but I wonder whether there will also be interest from the Premier League – especially from Arsenal.
The Gunners have been linked with the player in the past, and are still on the lookout for a more orthodox winger for the left-hand side.
Whilst it would appear on paper that he has a track record of injuries to be wary of, that’s actually not the reality – he had one major injury and nothing out of the ordinary apart from that.
He’s valued around £7 million but I would assume Malaga would be offering considerably less than his valuation given how keen Barcelona are to offload him – Arsenal could likely swing a deal in their favour and could have an experienced, quality international who has won four Dutch league titles, a La Liga title, a Champions League winners medal and a FIFA Club World Cup medal to boot.
He’s currently undergoing rehabilitation for his muscle strain but is expected to recover before the transfer window closes at the end of August.
Arsenal have failed in their attempts to sign Grenier who has extended his contract at Lyon and the Gunners have yet to sign any player of reputation so far.
Ibrahim Afellay scored 2 goals and made 1 assist in the Bundesliga for Schalke last term despite starting just 5 games and playing a full 90 minutes on only 3 occasions in the German top tier.
He scored in the Champions League against Arsenal at the Emirates in the group stages and picked up an assist in that game as well. He’s a quality player who needs a break and Arsenal could be just the club to give him the opportunity he deserves.
image: © jikatu