If reports on UEFA.com are to be believed then Barcelona may just have pulled off one of the bargains of the past few seasons yesterday evening, with the announcement that the Catalan club have struck a deal with PSV that will see highly-rated young midfielder Ibrahim Affelay move to Spain in January for the princely sum of €3 million.
The following statement appeared on fcbarcelona.es at close of play yesterday:
“PSV Eindhoven and Barcelona have reached an agreement on a deal to bring Ibrahim Afellay to Barca, subject to successfully settling personal terms between the player and the Catalan club over the coming weeks.
Until the deal is finally settled, Ibrahim Afellay wishes to concentrate on the upcoming important games for PSV.”
Afellay is yet to agree personal terms with Barca, but judging by the player’s positive reaction to the mutual agreement reached between the two clubs being reported today in various Spanish newspapers, a formal announcement of the transfer should only be a matter of time in coming.
El Mundo Deportivohave quoted Afellay as saying:
“Barcelona are fantastic, a great club and a great team. No player would say no to Barcelona.”
Whilst Sport, another Catalan-based newspaper, are running with the following:
“I’ve never been to the Nou Camp, neither as a fan or as a player and it’s a dream for me to play there, I’m very eager to make my debut at the Nou Camp.
I really enjoy watching Barca on television. Everybody does because they play very attractive football and are very nice to watch.”
And, when asked what position he sees himself playing in Pep Guardiola’s well stocked team, the 24-year-old Dutchman said:
“The truth is that I don’t mind where I play, if it’s in the centre of the pitch, in attack or on the wing. I will play where the coach needs me.”
With the likes of Lionel Messi, Xavi,Andres Iniesta and Pedro Rodriguez to dispose, it’s more than likely that he will probably be getting firmly acquainted with the benches at the Camp Nou from the outset.
Afellay’s contract with PSV was due to expire at the end of the season and he publicly announced that he would not be willing to renew his deal at the Phillips Stadion last month (pricking up the ears of most of Europe’s elite in the process),after spending his entire career to date with PSV.
As such, the Dutch giants began to seek potential suitors with the express intent of recouping at least some small fraction of the market worth of a player they have succesfully nurtured from the age of 10 until the present day.
More to the point, does this mean that Barcawill finally stop publicly haranguing Arsenal into selling Cesc Fabregas? Personally, I somehow doubt it.