Stoke City are close to pulling off a real transfer coup by signing Ibrahim Afellay on a free transfer from Barcelona, reports local newspaper the Stoke Senteniel.
Afellay has not been offered a new contract by the Catalan club, with his current deal set to expire over the summer, and Stoke are set to move quickly to fend off interest from other Premier League clubs and abroad.
Afellay was touted as one of the most promising young players in Europe as he broke through the youth ranks at PSV Eindhoven, before signing for Barcelona in 2011l.
However his time at Barcelona has not been happy, distrupted by cruciate knee ligament injury during the 2011-12 season and he has struggled to break into the starting XI when fit, making just 21 La Liga appearances.
This has led to loan spells at Schalke 04, and this season at Greek side Olympiakos, however his impact has continued to be affected by inconsistency and injury.
Before signing Stoke with demand a clean bill of health from the player who will command a high wage, and could seek to offer him a performance-related pay structure, however if Afellay can stay fit he will be a real asset to Stoke.
Stoke already boast two former Barcelona players within their ranks, in Bojan Krkic and Marc Muniesa, a factor Mark Hughes hopes could enable Stoke City to seal the deal for Afellay.
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