Stoke City have announced the free transfer signing of Ibrahim Afellay, who became available upon the expiry of his Barcelona contract this summer.
The 29-year-old joined Barcelona in January 2011 for around £3million as his deal at PSV Eindhoven entered its final six months, and he went on to collect five honours in his debut season at the Camp Nou including the La Liga title and UEFA Champions League. However, he struggled to establish himself in the first team, due to a combination of injury and competition for places.
Afellay left Barca earlier this summer when his contract expired, and he did so having played just 35 times for their first team in all competitions. He spent the 2012-13 campaign on loan at Schalke, playing 15 times, and last term he was loaned to Olympiakos whom he helped win the Greek league title by a margin of 12 points having scored four goals in 19 appearances .
The Holland international, who has 50 caps for his country, will now link up with compatriots Erik Pieters and Marco van Ginkel at the Britannia Stadium, as well as former Barca team-mates Bojan Krkic, Marc Muniesa and Moha. Afellay has agreed a two-year contract with the Premier League side, and chief executive Tony Scholes is delighted to welcome the player to the club.
“It’s no secret that Ibrahim Afellay was wanted by a number of clubs and we are understandably delighted that he has chosen to join us,” he said on Monday afternoon. “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.”