French side Nice are the latest club to be linked to a deal for Stoke City midfielder Giannelli Imbula, according to reports in The Mirror.
The Potters’ club-record signing has been the subject of intense transfer speculation in recent weeks, as potential moves to Galatasaray, Marseille and Roma have all been mentioned in the press.
Stoke paid a handsome £18.3 million for the French powerhouse 17 months ago, when he made the move to the English Premier League from Portuguese club FC Porto.
Despite a promising start and a fine goal on his Premier League debut against Bournemouth in February 2016, his career has since stalled, making just 12 appearances in the club’s 2016/17 league campaign.
Manager Mark Hughes’ patience seems to have run out.
It is understood that potential suitors are wary about taking the expensive flop on a permanent deal and have suggested a preference for a loan move.
However, the Potters remain keen on recouping as much of sizeable transfer fee that they paid for Imbula as possible.
Stoke fans will be sad to see the 23-year-old leave the Bet365 Stadium, after his initial arrival was met with optimism and excitement. Likened to Yaya Toure and Patrick Vieira earlier in his career, expectations were high.
Although powerful and direct with the ball at his feet, he has sometimes frustrated those at the club by neglecting his defensive duties and conceding costly goals.
The fast pace of the Premier League and the rapid counter-pressing style of many teams has meant that Imbula has found it difficult to shine.
Champions League qualifiers Nice can offer the powerful Frenchman a return to his homeland and importantly an opportunity to showcase his talents in continental competition.
Imbula will be hoping that wherever he ends up, a move to pastures new will help him to restart his once promising career.