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Afellay set for Barcelona return

Ibrahim Afellay is to return to Barcelona when his Schalke loan deal expires at the end of the season, according to Sport Bild.

Ibrahim Afellay: Currently sidelined
Ibrahim Afellay has not reached his potential at Schalke

Afellay, 26, has not played a minute of Bundesliga football since suffering a muscle injury during Netherlands’ friendly against Germany in early November.

On his return to team training during the winter training camp, the Netherlands international suffered another muscle injury and has been sidelined ever since.

The winger joined Schalke on loan with high hopes ahead of the season. Afellay featured in all ten games after his arrival, scoring two goals, but it now seems certain he will not get to add to his tally of appearances for the Bundesliga club.

“I assume that [Afellay will return to Barcelona],” Schalke general manager Horst Heldt told Sport Bild.

Heldt added: “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.”

Earlier this year Sport Bild made public that Afellay had lost his temper with the club’s physiotherapists, and it seems Schalke are now losing patience with the player.

“As a club we recognise that it is important to us that the player identifies with the club,” Heldt said. “We don’t stipulate that injured or suspended players attend our home games. The pro has to take the initative.”

Afellay’s injury has not been felt too hard at Schalke of late, with the club moving to bring in Michel Bastos on an 18-month loan deal from Lyon in January.

Meanwhile, Sport Bild reports that the Royal Blues could make a move for Borussia Dortmund centre-back Felipe Santana.

The back-up defender has failed to win a spot in Dortmund’s starting line-up this season and has previously been linked with a move away from the club.

“Many clubs are interested in him,” Santana’s agent Volker Struth said. “Right now he is a BVB player and we are not talking to anyone.”

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