Stoke City sign former Barcelona star Ibrahim Afellay
Mark Hughes has further strengthened Barcelona’s tag as a feeder club to Stoke City by signing Ibrahim Afellay on a two-year deal after his contract expired at the Nou Camp.
“It’s no secret that Ibrahim was wanted by a number of clubs and we are understandably delighted that he has chosen to join us,” Potters CEO Tony Scholes said.
“He’s clearly excited about the prospect of playing in the Premier League and the fact that he knows so many players who are already at the club will no doubt help him settle into his new surroundings.”
#SCFC are delighted to announce the signing of Dutch international winger Ibrahim Afellay
— Stoke City FC (@stokecity) July 27, 2015
Having fended off fierce competition for the Dutchman’s signature, Stoke boss Hughes has once again pulled off a masterstroke in the transfer market, having brought in Spanish striker Joselu, goalkeepers Shay Given and Jakob Haugaard, defensive duo Glen Johnson and Philipp Wollscheid, and on-loan midfielder Marco van Ginkel already this summer. Keep an eye on all activity with Coral’s live updates.
Added to that there is also 19-year-old winger Moha El Ouriachi, who also joined from the Catalan giants, which means that Afellay should feel right at home as he reunites with other ex-Barca stars Marc Muniesa and Bojan Krkic, the latter having made the move 12 months earlier.
Hughes has been in the hunt for a top quality player since it was clear that Xherdan Shaqiri rejected Stoke’s overtures, and Afellay is the perfect recruit. Although he is 29, he should still have a couple of years left at the highest level and will be hoping he can rediscover his form at the Britannia Stadium.
Not exactly renowned for scoring goals (just 51 in his career), the left winger has pace to burn and can cause multiple teams in the Premier League problems next term, with his trickery and assists.
Having also played for the Netherlands, as well as winning trophies with Barca, he brings an abundance of experience, that Hughes will be hoping can have an impact on the side and the rest of the players.
Afellay will also link up with compatriots Erik Pieters, having played together at PSV Eindhoven, and Van Ginkel, another new signing and the trio could form an effective on-field relationship down the left-hand side of the pitch.
It remains to be seen whether Hughes has finished in the market this summer, and he may make that decision after his club’s first couple of games of the new season, with Coral making the Potters 11/1 chances for a top six finish next term.