Afellay chooses to help Barcelona in La Liga title challenge

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Ibrahim Afellay will head to Spain and not England in the January transfer window after agreeing a deal to sign with Barcelona.

The highly-rated Dutchman had caused a stir for his signature after stating that he would not be renewing his contract with PSV Eindhoven when it expired in the summer.

Some of Europe’s top clubs appeared to show an interest in acquiring Afellay including Liverpool, Arsenal and Fiorentina, but he has chosen to follow in the long line of Dutch talents to move to the Nou Camp.

A statement on the Barcelona club website said: “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.”

The 24-year-old will hand Barcelona another option in the wide positions and it is likely that he will compete with Pedro for the spot on the right side of an attacking threesome, alongside Lionel Messi and David Villa.

However, despite his pace and trickery, Barcelona may also see him as a longer term replacement for Xavi as PSV have often chosen to utilise him in a defensive midfield position to direct traffic and orchestrate attacking moves.

Afellay could become an important tool in Barcelona’s armoury in the latter portion of the La Liga season as they prepare for what is likely to be a direct battle with Real Madrid for the title.

Barcelona are currently the 5/6 favourites to win La Liga in the European football betting this season, although they find themselves a point behind their rivals after 11 games.

Meanwhile, Real Madrid are still unbeaten since Jose Mourinho took over as boss at the start of the campaign and are 10/11 to be crowned champions. See the full La Liga winners betting odds.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.