You know how sometimes transfers are rumored for months and months before they materialize and we end up sick of the player before he even signs for us? Well that's not what happened here. Approximately ten minutes after we were linked with him, Tottenham have agreed to a deal for Benjamin Stambouli from Montpellier.
Un accord a été trouvé entre le #MHSC et @SpursOfficial pour le transfert de @BenjiStambouli pic.twitter.com/roBMic3D1Y— MHSC (@MontpellierHSC) August 29, 2014
If you're like me, you have zero idea who he is and what he can do. Fortunately for us, Bryan A. writes for our site! And in addition to operating his own ice cream truck, he's also an expert on French football. Here is what he thinks of our newest acquisition.
Stambouli is, essentially another Etienne Capoue. The 24 year-old Frenchman is capable of playing both defensive midfield (his preferred position) and center back. His work rate is unquestioned and in he was essentially vice captain at MHSC for the last couple years. Unfortunately, Stambouli can be a bit reckless in the tackle and tends to pick up more than his fair share of yellow cards, though he's often smart enough to avoid a red. He's talented enough on the ball and likes to dribble forward, but this occasionally led to some bad giveaways that left his back line exposed.He played the last couple seasons with Remy Cabella, now of Newcastle, in front of him and the two formed a good tandem in the spine of Montpellier's team. For whatever his faults may be, Stambouli knows he's not a creative engine and looks to get the ball to teammates that can create as quickly as possible. That doesn't mean he's a John Obi Mikel type of passer, merely that he knows he's best served breaking up the play, getting the ball to playmakers and then getting himself into dangerous positions.I have to imagine that Pochettino sees Stambouli as basically like for like cover for Etienne Capoue and it's hard to disagree. While he's not nearly as big as Capoue, his skill set would fit very well into Tottenham Hotspur's team.
So let's work out what this deal means for our club. Since Stambouli is a defensive midfielder and not a delicious Italian sandwich, it almost certainly means the end of our interest in Southampton defensive midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin. We haven't seen any figures yet, but I would guess a big reason we're signing him is that this deal is significantly cheaper than the 80 gagillion double dollars Southampton was asking for Schneiderlin. This does not mean that the club is cheap, necessarily. Considering our midfield situation, which includes the suddenly impressive Etienne Capoue, even if we sell some midfielders, paying more than £12 million for Schneiderlin is probably not the smartest use of the club's transfer budget.
Now, the news you probably don't want to hear is this likely means the end of Sandro at Spurs. Considering Sandro's lack of playing time, all the rumors about him going to Italy, and the fact that we now have 3 defensive midfielders, I would imagine that this means he'll be leaving us before the window is out. But then again no one had heard us linked to Stambouli before today. So who the hell knows what's going to happen.
But hey, we have a new French player who looks like a cast member from Game of Thrones. I'm expecting a confused gif party in the comments.
UPDATE: Or maybe not? Get it together, France.