Jose Mourinho splashed out £21million on midfield monolith Nemanja Matic last month but the 6 foot 4 crusher isn’t quite the midfield anchor of the Claude Makelele ilk – the Frenchman became a trademark star of the Special One’s original Chelsea cast.
One young and tenacious middle man who could fill that purpose however is 21 year-old Gianelli Imbula, who has been sporadically linked with a move to West London since the start of the season.
The Marseille man is the youngest player to ever feature in Ligue 2, having impressed enough at former club Guingamp – picking up the division’s Player of the Year award for the 2012/13 season – for the top flight outfit to pick him up last summer.
Since, the France U21 has gone on to produce a string of noteworthy displays as the defensive element in Marseille’s midfield, averaging 1.8 tackles per match and donning a pass completion ratio of 90% in the league.
He’s also received an inaugural taste of Champions League football this season, and in three European outings certainly held his own.
Measuring in at 6 foot 1, combative in the tackle, an impeccable athlete and incredibly simplistic in his style of play, Imbula is very much a Mourinho player, and the Express reported in November that the Blues are willing to pay up to £25million for the Ligue 1 prodigy.
A number of other major European clubs, including Arsenal and Real Madrid, have also been linked however, and having signed him less than 12 months ago, there’s no obligation for Marseille to sell. Therefore, acquiring Imbula’s signature could prove to be a lengthy process.