Marseille are set to make a late challenge for Benjamin Stambouli and will be the favourites to sign the versatile midfielder.
Premier League side Swansea City could have some last-minute competition for the signature of Montpellier midfielder Benjamin Stambouli. Marseille and Marcelo Bielsa are desperate for new faces at the Stade Velodrome and it looks like the Ligue 1 side will make a last gasp bid to bring the midfielder to Marseille this summer.
French newspaper L’Equipe are reporting this weekend that Bielsa has given the green light for the club to make an offer to their south-coast neighbours and around €5 million should be enough to get La Paillade to agree to a deal.
Stambouli had been reportedly close to signing for Swansea and Fiorentina this week and the midfielder has been removed from Montpellier’s playing squad for their next two games, signally that a move was close.
The 24-year-old came through the Montpellier youth setup and it was a proud moment for his family when he graduated into the first-team as the club won their first-ever Ligue 1 title in 2012.
There have always been stories linking the midfielder with a move to Marseille due to his father Henri’s position as one of Marseille’s youth trainers. Henri was prominent figure at OM for three years, but has since returned to Montpellier to run their youth center.
The younger Stambouli would be perfect for Marseille and Bielsa, although his main position is usually in the midfield, he can also play as a centre-back and full-back and his ability to play the ball out of defence would make him the perfect fit in Bielsa’s 3-3-3-1.
Right now, Marseille only have Nicolas N’Koulou that can be classed as a first-team centre-back. Young Stephane Sparagna started the opening game of the season, but after conceding three against Bastia, he was dropped to the bench.
Against Montpellier in the 2-0 defeat, N’Koulou was partnered by a left-back and a defensive midfielder in three man defence, and Montpellier took full advantage by exposing the defence, with Stambouli at the heart of the attack.
Bielsa needs reinforcements, and Stambouli would be an ideal signing. If Marseille can beat Swansea to this signing it could be very good for both club and player. Although the bright lights of the Premier League are always hard to resist.