Barcelona’s newly promoted first team coach Tito Vilanova has squashed rumours of a summer exit for Ibrahim Afellay from the Nou Camp, with the Gunners strongly linked to the versatile attacker.
The Dutchman had been tipped for to an exit from Spanish football after seeming to fall out of the Catalan club’s plans despite only joining in the winter window in 2011.
The 26-year-old sat out majority of last season with a knee ligament injury but returned to action late last season and featured prominently for the Netherlands in their Euro 2012 campaign. With the likes of newbies Isaac Cuenca and Cristian Tello stepping into the first team providing a huge array of wingers with the likes of Pedro and Sanchez regulars, Afellay looked destined for a summer exit, but Vilanova still sees the Dutch international as part of his plans.. For now.
He told Dutch magazine NUsport:
Afellay is a player of great class, there is no doubt about it. Like always, he is part of our selection. We will begin the season with him.
The news will come as a bit of a blow for some Gooners that were hoping the talented and versatile forward could be in Arsenal colours next season, he would have been a wonderful acquisition that way have helped to sway Van Persie to stay, and most of all he would be cheap.
But if things don’t go his way this season and he isn’t a regular for the Catalan giants maybe he could be pried away in the January transfer window. Wenger also will find it hard to purchase another winger with Walcott (he will stay), Gervinho, Chambo, Miyaichi and maybe still Arshavin fighting for places out wide.
What are your thoughts? Is it a good or bad thing that Afellay isn’t available this summer? Feel free to comment below or in allArsenal’s forum under transfer rumours.