Ibrahim Afellay has had a torrid time during his loan spell at Schalke with injury forcing him to the sidelines since November. And as the player prepares to return to Barcelona at the end of the season, Liverpool are set to miss out on their target again after being snubbed by the Dutch international last summer.
Afellay graduated from the youth academy at Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven and made his senior debut in 2004. After 7 successful years in Netherlands where he won the Best Young Player of the Year in 2007, the winger joined Barcelona in January 2011.
He suffered an injury at the start of the 2011-12 season and was sidelined for more than 7 months. His limited time at the Camp Nou forced him to consider a switch from the club to gain first-team football. Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham were credited with interest in the player last summer as Barcelona were willing to allow the Dutchman to leave for a loan spell but Schalke beat the Premier League clubs to the player’s signature.
However, Afellay was injured during the Netherlands’ friendly in November and the player is set to miss out the rest of the season. The Express quotes Schalke general manager Horst Heldt confirming Afellay’s move back to Barcelona, “I assume that [Afellay will return to Barcelona]. Ibrahim is still being treated in the Netherlands. The rehab is attuned with us. Naturally, it is a shame he, so far, has not showed up here once.”
Brendan Rodgers was keen to sign Afellay last summer and was set to renew his interest at the end of the season to shore up his options in the wide areas. Afellay’s ability to also play as an attacking midfielder made him a high priority for Rodgers but the Liverpool manager is set to be rebuffed again in his attempts to land the player.