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Liverpool FC: Bonus Transfer Target, Ibrahim Afellay

Ibrahim Afellay appears to be on the outside looking in at Barcelona's plans for the new season.
Ibrahim Afellay appears to be on the outside looking in at Barcelona's plans for the new season.David Ramos/Getty Images
Saakib ZafraniCorrespondent IIAugust 28, 2012

Barcelona manager Tito Vilanova has told Ibrahim Afellay he doesn't have a spot in his current plans, according to Metro. 

While the 26-year-old seemed to figure into Pepe Guardiola's plans and the younger Cristian Tello was the one to perhaps go out on loan, Villanova is apparently opting for youth. It certainly fits into the Spanish national theme they have going, as Tello is an up-and-comer at the wing position for the national side. 

There might still be time for Liverpool to further spite Arsenal, and to return the favor to Tottenham for sweeping Gylfi Sigurdsson from under their feet. Both London clubs are also in pursuit of the former PSV Eindhoven captain, says Metro. 

Brendan Rodgers could certainly use more quality depth at the wing, as the only regular starters presently are Luis Suarez, Fabio Borini and Raheem Sterling. 

Taking Afellay on loan might be an affordable way to do that if Rodgers is also trying to sign a center forward. 

Let's take a look at what the Dutchman could bring to Anfield.

 

Speed

Afellay seems to have an extra gear with the ball at his feet and should have no problems running by defenders. He possesses wonderful technical ability and can make his opponents look foolish at times. 

 

Familiarity

He is well-versed in Barcelona's tiki-taka system and could drop right into Rodgers' adaptation. Afellay is comfortable with the ball at his feet and won't have trouble passing and holding before he can pass again. 

 

Versatility

Originally a midfielder, Afellay was converted to a winger at Barcelona and has since been deployed at that position for his national squad. He still has the ability to line up behind the center forward in an advanced central midfield position and can slip defenders to latch onto ricochets in the box. 

 

Weaknesses 

He offers a number of positives, but the package is not without its caveats. If Raheem Sterling can hold off the likes of Kolo Toure, then it stands to reason Afellay can as well, but his size is very much a concern. While Sterling has been brought up in the more physical British system, Afellay has not had to face very many monstrous defenders in the Netherlands or Spain. 

Afellay has never been a prolific goal scorer, and by the numbers, is likely to score in about one in every six games. 

While he doesn't provide the most compelling option as a starter, Afellay could serve to bolster Liverpool's depth at the position. 

The good thing is we'll likely get to see if he's up to playing in the Premier League, since mainly EPL teams are in the running to land him.  

This is just a quick breakdown due the buzz surrounding the 26-year-old today. If anymore smoke starts to rise for a potential move, be on the lookout for a more in depth profile.

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