Crocked winger could be handed lifeline by Merseyside giants.
Barcelona’s forgotten man Ibrahim Afellay could be handed a January lifeline by Liverpool when the transfer window re-opens, CaughtOffside understands.
The Dutch winger has been at the Nou Camp since 2011 and has endured a frustrating time with the Catalan giants, failing to break past their numerous star players into the starting lineup.
Afellay’s time in Spain has been disrupted by injuries, though he was also farmed out on loan to Bundesliga side Schalke last season as he was not seen as part of the first-team setup at the club. The former PSV man then looked in good form in his loan spell, only for an injury to put him out for most of the second half of the season and see him return to Barcelona after a fall-out with the medical staff at the German side.
Once considered one of the brightest prospects in the game during his emergence in Holland, Afellay is now in desperate need of a career-boosting move, and Liverpool are thought to be considering making the somewhat risky move on the injury-prone attacker.
Reds boss Brendan Rodgers is keen to bring in more attacking midfielders and forwards this January, having sold Stewart Downing over the summer and brought in Victor Moses only on loan for the season, though the Northern Irishman is wary of Afellay’s recent injury record and keen not to over-pay for the 27-year-old.
It is expected that Liverpool will make an opening offer of £5m to Barcelona, though they are unlikely to go a great deal higher for the Dutchman unless they fail to land their other main targets.
Barcelona are also aware, however, that they may not be able to ask for a great deal more for the player given his recent struggles, and will be keen to have him off their books as he remains out of their plans with further competition for places arriving this summer in the form of £48m Brazilian forward Neymar.
Afellay is unlikely to return to Schalke, though other clubs in Germany could be interested in his services as well, as could Premier League duo Swansea and Southampton, who have both cleverly managed to recruit some big names in the last couple of seasons.
Liverpool have also recently been linked with another Barcelona squad player Cristian Tello in recent months, though the youngster seems set to stay at the Nou Camp having signed a new contract with the club.