Arsenal and Tottenham midfield target still expected to complete La Liga move

Mestalla Valencia

North London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham are linked with French midfielder Giannelli Imbula, but Valencia appears to be his chosen destination.

Valencia 'have yet to close the door' on an much talked about move for Marseille midfielder, Giannelli Imbula, local media outlet Super Deporte are insisting.

Although the recent signing of young Brazilian Rodrigo Caio seemed to indicate Valencia had covered their defensive midfield requirements, the 21-year-old is now seen as a central defensive reinforcement instead, albeit one who can offer alternative positional options for manager Nuno Espirito Santo.

As such, Super Deporte refer back to the words of Imbula's father and agent, who recently commented: “It’s a great place to play football [The Mestalla stadium]. My son would like very much to play here, he wants to play for Valencia.”

Also explained is that after Marseille set a deadline for bids to be made for the 22-year-old, the player requested more time be given, because he has a stronger preference to join Valencia, rather than any of the various clubs who have expressed an interest.

Inter Milan securing the signing Geoffrey Kondogbia from Monaco, instead of going ahead with a planned swoop for Imbula, is also regarded as favouring Valencia, given Italian outlets such as Calciomercato now believe Inter are turning their attention to alternative targets.

Tottenham were one of the first clubs to make a firm approach to Marseille, but the offer from Daniel Levy fell considerably short of the price wanted by the French club.

In addition, Marseille weren't tempted by the offer of Spurs players in part-exchange, which included the pick of either Benjamin Stambouli or Etienne Capoue.

Italian transfer pundit Gianluca Di Marzio claims Arsenal have now made contact, hoping to encourage Imbula and his father that a move to the Premier League would be in their best interests. This in the midst of The Gunners being linked with a host of defensive midfield targets.

Valencia remain the strong favourites though, but both Arsenal and Tottenham could yet achieve success with their respective moves, for two key reasons.

Firstly, Marseille are apparently holding out for a fee of around €25 million for Imbula, whilst they're also apparently firm that valuation is made in one cash payment, as that would wipe their club debts in one swoop. Either of the two London clubs could comfortably afford to match that fee, if they show enough willingness to do so.

Secondly, the Financial Fair Play regulations in La Liga could pose a restriction for Valencia. Reportedly set a figure of €98 million for the 2015-16 season, it is believed they're currently over that mark my around €10 million, meaning they may need to sell first, and hence the delays in confirming a deal for Imbula.

The coming days will clearly be critical when it comes to the future of the player, but if as it appears, he's holding out for a move to the Mestalla, rather than the Emirates or White Hart Lane, both the Gunners and Spurs could be chasing a lost cause. Only time will ultimately tell.

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