Stoke City secure Ibrahim Afellay signing

Stoke City  have fended off competition for the signature of former Barcelona man Ibrahim Afellay, committing the 29-year-old winger to a two-year contract after he was released by the Catalan club.

His signing represents manager Mark Hughes’s determination to build on his side’s recent improvements in the Premier League, having ended the season equalling the club’s highest-ever league finish in ninth place.

The Dutch international follows Philipp Wollscheid, Jakob Haugaard, Joselu, Marco van Ginkel, Glen Johnson Moha and Shay Given as the club’s eighth signing thus far in the transfer window. Afellay was part of the Dutch side that made it to the World Cup final in 2010, as well as the Barcelona side that won the sextuple under now-Bayern manager Pep Guardiola, though he wasn’t a regular starter. His last two seasons were spent on loan, first at Schalke 04, then at Olympiakos.

Thrilled with their acquisition, Stoke chief executive Tony Scholes said:

“It’s no secret that Ibrahim was wanted by a number of clubs and we are understandably delighted that he has chosen to join us.

“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.”

Afellay is a product of the PSV Eindhoven youth academy and went on to make 159 appearances for the club between 2004 and 2011, until his transfer to Barcelona. He also has 50 international caps, as well as six goals for his country.

The Potters, who are currently in France at their training camp in Evian, can expect Afellay’s arrival shortly, as he will look to make himself available for this weekend’s Colonia Cup competition in Germany. There, they are scheduled to come up against German side Cologne and Portuguese league runners-up FC Porto.