Have Stoke just completed the biggest gamble of the January window?

Although a great deal of hype and premature sensation usually surrounds the January transfer window, very little genuine action seemingly took place this time around – especially with the league’s biggest sides looking to successfully cast their name on some much needed silverware this season.

Newcastle United signed themselves a succession of somewhat over-priced players in an attempt to steer clear of the dreaded threat of relegation this term, whilst the likes of AFC Bournemouth and Norwich City also contributed their fair share before the winter transfer window eventually came to a close.

However, after Stoke City finally announced the somewhat surprise signing of FC Porto’s Giannelli Imbula on an incredible £18.3 million deal this January, a familiar sense of transfer-fuelled excitement once again resurfaced for fans of the English top-flight to behold.

So then, will the recently captured Belgian midfielder simply hit the ground running with the Potters this season, or have Mark Hughes’ determined outfit ultimately completed the biggest gamble of the entire window in their latest big-money acquisition?

When any highly coveted signing eventually makes their initial introduction within the Premier League on the back of such an incredibly hefty transfer fee, they seemingly have to impress straight off the bat in order to avoid being labelled an out-in-out ‘flop’ throughout the rest of their career in the Premier League.

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And even though Stoke City have clearly taken a huge risk in yet another record-breaking capture down at the Britannia Stadium this January, Giannelli Imbula does in-fact look like he’ll one day blossom into a fantastic new addition for the Potters.

The 23-year-old defensive midfielder seems perfectly suited to the physical nature of the Premier League, he’ll likely serve to break up play rather effectively in the middle of the park for Mark Hughes’ side, and has also displayed a fair amount of confidence when bringing the ball out calmly from the back since he first burst onto to scene with Marseille just a handful of short seasons ago.

The Potters therefore deserve massive credit for landing such an promising prospect this winter, especially as the equally exciting likes of Xherdan Shaqiri, Bojan, Ibrahim Afellay and Marko Arnautovic have also been brought to the Britannia in recent transfer windows.

Stoke City are seemingly moving on from the often arduous and tiresome displays conducted by Tony Pulis in the Potters dug-out with such captivating names on board this season – and although the notorious effects of the Pulis era haven’t been completely lifted from the determined Premier League club as of yet – no one could accuse Mark Hughes’ side of failing to improve upon their image throughout the rest of the English top-flight in general.

Yet even though Giannelli Imbula certainly looks like he’ll soon develop into a strong fan-favourite at the Britannia Stadium faithful this season, immovable question marks still seemingly surround his sizeable £18.3 million price-tag, and whether or not the player in question will truly represent promising value for money during his upcoming stint within the Premier League.

Porto’s rather keen decision to part ways with the Belgian battler does indeed seem rather suspicious given the fact that Imbula only joined up with the Portuguese giants at the start of the 2015/16 campaign. If the former Marseille midfielder is really all he’s supposedly cracked up to be, why have Jose Peseiro’s current side seen fit to rid themselves of the 23-year-old so readily?

It’s fair to say that Giannelli Imbula didn’t exactly thrive in the Portuguese game this season, which therefore casts doubt over the incredibly hefty price tag Stoke City have recently shelled out for his services.

In the end, the Britannia Stadium faithful simply have every right to be excited over their club’s latest plunge into the transfer market, but as this big-money capture from the Potters nonetheless arrives in rather expensive circumstances this winter, Mark Hughes’ outfit arguably haven’t quite landed themselves anything close to a bargain.

Giannelli Imbula may not go down as the biggest gamble of the entire transfer window then, but simply an undoubted risk for the Potters based on his extremely sizeable transfer fee alone.