There have been some interesting stories coming out of French club Montpellier this week. The possible return of Arsenal target, Younes Belhanda, has been mentioned, plus the confirmation that talented playmaker, Remy Cabella, will be leaving the club in the summer.
More surprisingly it was confirmed by Montpellier president, Louis Nicollin, to local paper Midi Libre, that talented midfielder Benjamin Stambouli would also be leaving the club. Both previously mentioned midfielders have already been linked with moves to Arsenal, but it’s Stambouli that would perfectly suit the North-London club.
In an Arsenal midfield that is often criticised for not making enough tackles, not being tough enough and lacking that fiery presence that they used to get from the likes of Patrick Vieira and Emmanuel Petit. No one in the current Montpellier side has made more tackles than the 23-year-old, and in a team that has had more red cards than any other side in Europe’s top leagues, Stambouli has only picked up five yellows in 31 appearances.
Not only does Stambouli possess excellent defensive skills, he reads the game very well, can cover in various positions in defence and has a wonderful eye for a pass.
Benjamin’s father, Henri, was in-charge of the Marseille youth academy until last year, he now works at the same club as his son. It would be a shame to see father and son separated, but with his current contract ending in 2015 and the likely asking price being no more than €3 or 4 million, he would be a fantastically cheap option for Arsene Wenger and a player that is better defensively than the current options in the side.
Michel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini are good defensive midfielders but Stambouli has the potential to be much better than both of them. He is already at a similar standing with his defensive abilities, but with his physical presence and heart on his sleeve style, he would adapt to the Premier League quicker than most.
Arsenal fans may not know much about Benjamin Stambouli, but he is a player they would quickly fall in love with. Forget Belhanda and Cabella, Stambouli is the man you want in your team.