Not many clubs have changed quite as drastically as Stoke City in the last few years and the signing of Giannelli Imbula is another step that the Potters have taken to becoming a regular top half force in the Premier League.
The French midfielder joins a hugely talented squad and is likely to slot into central midfield along side Glenn Whelan or Ibrahim Afellay. Mark Hughes smashed the club’s record transfer fee to secure the ex-Porto man and it was the biggest transfer of any club in Europe during this January window.
Considering the pedigree of this midfielder, this is one of the biggest transfer coups of the last couple of years and see the former Marseille man link up with Xherdan Shaqiri and Bojan – two of Stoke’s other remarkable transfers.
If there was ever a sign of a club going in the right direction, this is the sort of addition that firmly makes it clear of the intentions of the Potters.
Here are FIVE things you absolutely must know about Imbula…
The youngster won player of the season in Ligue 2 during his time with Guingamp, before making the move to Marseille.
Mark Hughes has had his eye on this star for some time and he has finally got his man.
During his brief stay in Portugal, Imbula has featured in the Champions League and would be more than up to the standard if the Potters make it into the Europa League.
Imbula completed more dribbles than anyone in Ligue 1 last season and is sure to add a direct running option to Stoke’s deep midfield role.
Where van Ginkel failed and Charlie Adam is far more static, Imbula can be a great launch pad for counter attacking football.
Much like Ramires or Matuidi, Imbula can play the box-to-box role in any midfield.
His impressive engine means you will often see him come into his one in the last quarter of a game.
Imbula, as mobile as he is, is an incredibly strong man.
The 23-year-old midfielder will have no issues with adapting to the physicality of the Premier League and he is likely to dominate many opposition midfielders.
Whether its Kouyate or Yaya, Imbula can hold his own.