His career has never quite reached the heights that it was first expected to but French midfielder Giannelli Imbula is still attracting interest from the likes of Crystal Palace and Newcastle following Stoke City’s relegation from the Premier League in May.
Still only 25, Giannelli’s career has already seen him play for Guingamp, Marseille, Porto, Stoke City and Toulouse, (on loan) hinting that, whilst talented, his personality is one which managers have struggled to tame. Admittedly, when he first signed for the Potters for a club record £18 million hopes for his future were incredibly high but after a positive start, he was eventually dropped by boss Mark Hughes in the early stages of the 2016/17 season and seemingly never recovered, leading the club to openly scour the market for potential buyers in the summer transfer window of 2017.
Whilst no permanent offers arose during that window, Toulouse did make a season-long loan offer for Giannelli, playing him 34 times over the course of a campaign in which they narrowly escaped relegation from Ligue 1 after winning a final day play-off tie with Ajaccio.
Despite his rather unremarkable recent past, it sounds as though both Roy Hodgson and Rafa Benitez fancy their chances of taming Imbula, with the Premier League pair joining the likes of Galatasaray and Torino in putting out feelers over a potential deal taking place. According to the report above, the man himself would much prefer to stay in France, ideally with a side in the top half of the table but if no such offers come in for him, he’ll be forced to contemplate another season on Stoke’s books in the Championship.
I’m more than happy to trust Roy Hodgson’s judgement in relation to player recruitment this summer but on the face of things, Imbula seems to be a player with rather a lot of baggage for someone who is still relatively young. It may sound a tad rose-tinted but a great deal of our success last term stemmed from the close-knit bond our players shared and regardless of the Frenchman’s obvious ability, questions must surely be asked over his ability to settle into a squad such as ours for the long run.
Any further updates on this story will be published as soon as possible.