Giannelli Imbula had a tough night on Friday as Lorient beat Marseille 5-3 - and Chelsea were apparently there to see it.
Despite their position at the top of the table, Chelsea are constantly looking at ways to improve their squad and reports from The Sun on Monday suggest that someone from Jose Mourinho’s scouting team was in Marseille on Friday to watch Gianelli Imbula in action.
The 22-year-old midfielder had his work cut out as FC Lorient shocked the home team with a 5-3 victory, but his performances in Marcelo Bielsa’s team this season have been highly impressive.
Chelsea have been linked with the former Guingamp man ever since he was playing in Ligue 2 with the Breton club. Marseille signed him for €7.5 million back in 2013 and the Belgian born box-to-box youngster has come on leaps and bounds since his move to the Stade Velodrome.
The Sun suggests that Chelsea would need to pay OM around £18 million to acquire the services of the former France Under-21. Friday’s defeat saw Marseille drop down to fifth place, and their run of four games without a win has seen their chances of European football drop.
Imbula may see his future away from Marseille, and the way he has been left out to dry sometimes this season, you wouldn’t begrudge him making the big money move.
When Bielsa plays 4-2-3-1, Imbula has the protection of Alaixys Romao to let him forge forward, helping himself to two goals this season, but too often in the 3-3-1-3, Imbula is left in the centre of the pitch to cover two players, aiding Marseille’s downfall.
Imbula may need that step to take his game to the next level, Chelsea would be buying a talented player, with the potential to emulate the likes of Michael Essien and Frank Lampard.
The suggested fee is a lot of money, but with Imbula, Chelsea would be buying potential as well as instant ability.