Benjamin Stambouli has been left out of Montpellier's squad for the weekend's games, all but confirming his exit from the French side this summer.
At the start of the summer, Montpellier president Louis Nicollin commented that both Remy Cabella and Benjamin Stambouli would be able to leave the club for the right price. Cabella joined Newcastle for around £12 million and now, according to French newspaper L’Equipe, it finally looks like Stambouli will be allowed to leave, with Swansea City or Fiorentina his final destination.
Today, during Montpellier’s press conference before this weekend’s games, coach Roland Courbis confirmed that the 24-year-old would not be part of their squad for the next two matches against Nantes and Metz. It is unusual for a coach to say that a player would also be out the squad the following week, obvious indications that Montpellier believe a deal will be done this week.
Now it is up to both Swansea and Fiorentina, and Stambouli to decide where his future lies.
Whoever wins the battle is getting themselves an excellent young central-midfielder, even in the past two weeks, with the knowledge that he was probably moving on, Stambouli still worked his heart out for Montpellier. He was energetic and impressive against Bordeaux, despite the 1-0 defeat, and then was majestic and commanding in the wonderful 2-0 win over Marseille.
The type of player that Stambouli is, would ideally suit the Premier League. He is all-action, takes no prisoners, but can also play at pace and precision. If Swansea are still commited to playing a game based on possession and control, Stambouli is perfect.
The midfielder is currently good enough to play for a team like Arsenal or even Everton, he may see Swansea as a stepping board on to bigger things and there is little doubt that given the chance, he will impress all who come across the bullish midfielder.
At a pinch he can also play anywhere across the defence, and could probably do a job up front if he was asked. He has been Montpellier’s all-weather, all-terrain, all-action hero. The fans will be sad to see him go, one sign that a player has given his all for his club.
Is Benjamin Stambouli the man to get Swansea back to Europe?