Reports in France suggest that Everton have become the latest team in England to show an interest in Montpellier midfielder Benjamin Stambouli. The 23-year-old is out of contract in 2015 and Montpellier president Louis Niccolin has recently said that the player will be allowed to leave the club this summer. Montpellier are keen to sell the player so they don’t lose him for free next summer.
Newcastle had previously been linked with apparently showing interest, it is also reported that Ligue 1 sides Lyon and Marseille are contemplating a move for the 2012 Ligue 1 winner.
The Montpellier midfielder plays mainly as a defensive midfielder, he is at his best when he is breaking up play and protecting the back four. He is also very versatile and for Montpellier, during their moments of ill-discipline he has also played at centre-back and in the full-back roles.
No matter where Stambouli plays he has also performed well, he is a smart player, he does the simple things well and never looks flustered when on the ball or under pressure in defence.
When he puts his foot on the ball, Stambouli can make things happen, he is an excellent passer of the ball and when he is giving licence to attack he is very capable of creating chances for his team.
With Gareth Barry on loan from Manchester City, Stambouli could be a fantastic option for Everton to explore this summer. He would provide the same physical presence as Barry and perhaps add some more youthful energy to the Everton midfield.
Montpellier will be loathed to let Stambouli leave Montpellier on a free, and with his contract expiring, now is the time for the midfielder to find a new club. No league in Europe prepares players for the rigours of the Premier League like Ligue 1, and there would be minimal adaption needed if the player was to make the move.
Interest from both Lyon and Marseille will interest the player, his father Henri was the youth academy coach at Marseille for a number of years and Stambouli junior will know all about the club. However, the lure of the Premier League is hard to resist.
Stambouli will be on the move this summer and for under €3 million he is an absolute bargain signing. Everton would be making a great decision if they swooped to pick up the Montpellier midfielder.