French side Montpellier announced via twitter yesterday that they had agreed a fee with Tottenham Hotspur for the sale of 24-year-old midfielder Benjamin Stambouli. The belief now is that the former France under-21 player will travel to London for a medical before agreeing terms on a deal worth around €5 million.
But who is Benjamin Stambouli, and what should Spurs fans expect from the midfielder?
As a huge part of Montpellier’s success over the last couple of seasons he has played mostly as a central midfielder, mostly used on the defensive side of the game but his versatility could make him a vital element of the Spurs side for the foreseeable future.
For Montpellier, he broke into the side as a centre-back due to injuries and suspensions. He has played in roles all over the back-four, but once he was given his place in the midfield he proved himself an instant success, becoming an indispensable part of the team.
He reads the game extremely well, preferring to try and intercept any danger rather than rushing in to make a rash challenge. He rarely leaves his team short at the back, and is a commanding presence in the midfield.
Stambouli is more than just a midfield enforcer though. Once he has won the ball or stopped the attack, he is quick to get on the front foot and push forward. Behind Remy Cabella in the Montpellier attack, no one else made as many successful passes as Stambouli.
Many expected Spurs to make a move for Pochettino’s old charge, Morgan Schneiderlin and Stambouli is not quite as much of a box-to-box player like his fellow Frenchman. However, he does have an excellent range of passing, be it short quick passes to the attacking players, or sweeping long ball out towards the wingers. Stambouli is an all-round, all-action type of player: the type that will blossom in the competitive nature of the Premier League.
Montpellier are losing their vice-captain and one of the biggest influences around the team both on and off the pitch. He is a fan-favourite, demonstrated when he launched all of his clothes into the Montpellier kop when they won the league title in 2012.
Tottenham are gaining a very loyal, competitive and instrumental midfielder. He has all the ability to become a great Premier League player this season.