Ibrahim Afellay - the latest addition to the Barcelona squad and the new no. 20. Many football fans still wonder whether this signing was necessary or not.
I will try to answer the question in this article.
I am a barcelona fan yet have tried to be neutral throughout the article.
Let us look at the achievements of this new dutch talent.
2010/11 FC Barcelona
2010/11 PSV Eindhoven
2009/10 PSV Eindhoven
2008/09 PSV Eindhoven
2007/08 PSV Eindhoven
2006/07 PSV Eindhoven
2005/06 PSV Eindhoven
2004/05 PSV Eindhoven
2003/04 PSV Eindhoven
2008 Johan Cruijff Schaal (Dutch super cup)
2004/05 KNVB-beker (Dutch cup)
Netherlands national team
2010 World Cup runner-up
2007 Dutch Young Player of the Year
Afellay is a wide player with many virtues including pace, dribbling ability and a directness that unsettles defenders. Besides his impressive crosses, He also possesses great technique that boosts of capability as playing in the mid field.
He is also well known for his ability to shoot from distance and can take aim with both his right and left foot equally. And despite his young age, Afellay has also been the club's Captain and top scorer. And He has been linked with many clubs for a transfer. Manchester City was known for their interest in this 24 years old dutch. But Barcelona reached Ibrahim before any other clubs could.
Did you know? - Just before joining the Barca squad Ibrahim Afellay has been linked with being the "next Iniesta".
When asked in an interview with BarcaTv :
"What do you think about being able to ply with players like Iniesta or Messi – some people have compared you to Iniesta."
“They are the best in the world. I can’t wait to play with them. I can’t compare with Iniesta, he has so much quality. Every player is different and has his own points”.
Now lets look at the common questions asked by many people :
# Why buy another midfielder when Barcelona are already strong in that particular area?
True that Barcelona is dominant when it comes to midfielders. Of course we have the great Xavi and Iniesta. But we don't have any midfielder as good as Xavi or Iniesta for substitution.
Yes there is Keita,Adriano,Jonathan Dos Santos,Thiago,Nolito etc. But according to me, I don't think any of them can fill the gap of Xavi or Iniesta, I don't think they can create the same magic. No doubt they are good players but not good enough. If Afellay is given the proper guidance and proper playing time, then i believe a player of his caliber will adapt to the team very quick and can also continue the dominance of Barca's mid-fielding. Barcelona cannot afford to have either Xavi or Iniesta injured during the La Liga and Champions League race, so it is safe to have a player of high quality as a Backup. Because recently we have seen Xavi having some minor injury problem. Well, who have seen the future? What if he gets injured again and this time serious injury? So I believe it is safe to have backup.
All these will give Barcelona wide options when it comes to midfield.
# Why waste the career of a young new talent by benching him throughout the season?
I agree!! Barcelona is not only well known for Victories,Championship titles etc. but the club is also thought to be well known for benching world class players. Ronaldinho,Ibrahimovic,Henry, now Javier Mascherano etc.
Well, i believe Pep Guardiola should provide proper playing time for Afellay and help him improve and quickly adapt to the club's playing style. Otherwise it will be total waste of a young,fresh and new talent.
Guardiola can experiment different options out there in the field. He can put Xavi in one match and let him rest in the next match and then let Afellay play in the next match. And in the third match he can let Iniesta rest and let Afellay play instead of him. Because Afellay is a versatile player and equally good with both feet and has admitted that he is ready to play in any position the Guardiola wants him to.
So, Pep Guardiola, if you are out there and reading this (use Google translator if you don't understand English) then PLEASE don't let this new talent go waste. DON'T WASTE IT. Guide Afellay and use him often in your matches. I believe Barcelona can make great use of this new talent.
You never know, Ibrahim Afellay could be the next Barcelona Legend, just like the legendary dutch player Johan Cruyff - who also used to play for FC Barcelona.
And For God's sake, we need to buy a proper substitute of Dani Alves too. Dani Alves refused to extend his contract. We should get someone as good as him or even better. I suggest someone young experienced and under 25.