When Barcelona picked up Dutch international Ibrahim Afellay from PSV Eindhoven in 2011 for just €3 million he was looked at as a steal.
He had become a star in the PSV side playing across the midfield or front three - and his technical proficiency suited the teams philosophy.
But his time with Barca has certainly not been fruitful.
Whilst it was always going to be a battle getting first-team football at the club anyway - his continual injury problems certainly did not help matters.
He missed the majority of the 2011-12 season with a cruciate ligament injury and last summer he was allowed to leave the club on loan - so he could be assured of first-team football to help his recovery.
He was linked with a number of Premier League clubs last summer including Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool and Arsenal but in the end he decided to join his Dutch international team-mate Klaas Jan Huntelaar on a season long loan at Schalke 04.
But his time at Schalke was just as tumultuous. Following a poor Euro 2012 his form in Gelsenkirchen also fluctuated before suffering a thigh tear to which he was not happy with the treatment.
In fact he was reported to have had an outburst to the clubs physio department over what he felt was poor treatment, exclaiming…
‘’F*ck you, F*ck you, Amateurs!’’
Schalke therefore decided not to exercise their right to sign the player as he was deemed more trouble than he was worth.
That thigh tear proved more troublesome than first believed - and Afellay has only just returned to first-team training for Barcelona.
So with Afellay back fit - will Barca be looking to lend him out again?
It seems likely but the likes of Arsenal and Tottenham probably don’t need him anymore.
Liverpool may continue their interest in him but surely he could be an excellent addition to the Manchester United team.
This was a player dubbed the ‘Dutch Messi’ just a few years ago and somebody Pep Guardiola saw fit to sign just two years ago - so he is certainly a talent when fit and behaving.
A creative midfielder who can play in the hole behind the striker or further back as part of a midfield trio - he can also switch out to the wing if necessary. He could be available at a cut-price deal or indeed on loan for the last six months of the season.
There might not be many more talented bargains in European football right now.
image: © jikatu