With the departure of Yohan Cabaye to Crystal Palace and Thiago Motta admitting he would like a new challenge, Paris Saint-Germain find themselves in need of midfield players heading into the new season. Now that the Financial Fair Play restrictions have been lifted, many supporters would like to see a big name come into the club but Paris have their eyes set on the 24-year old Frenchman who plays Tottenham Hotspur.
Benjamin Stambouli is a versatile player who can play defensive midfield or centre back. He showed a lot of promise at Montpellier, leading the club to their first Ligue 1 title in 2012, but after his transfer to Tottenham in 2014, the Frenchman struggled to replicate this form. He made 25 total appearances for Spurs last season and only managed to score once in a Europa League match. A change of scenery, especially back to the league where he played his best soccer, could be just what Stambouli needs.
The Frenchman will likely be seen as Cabaye’s replacement in the substitute role, whether or not Motta stays. He’s a homegrown player who also brings with him some Champions League experience. His addition will be vital for Paris as he’s a proper defensive midfielder with the ability to read the game and make interceptions. Due to his versatility, he can also serve as cover for Marquinhos who also has commitments at right back. Assuming Stambouli lives up to the promise he showed during his time at Montpellier, he could become more than just another player to make up the numbers.
Stambouli will give manager Laurent Blanc a lot more freedom when making tactical changes. He is a different kind of holding midfielder to Motta. His presence reduces the defensive responsibilities on the other midfielders in the team, much like David Luiz did when he played in the midfield against Chelsea in the Champions League. The assured defensive presence could give the less defence oriented midfielders like Javier Pastore more freedom to create in the midfield or even allow Blanc to switch to a more attacking 4-4-2 formation.
With all that being said, Stambouli is no Motta, especially when it comes to passing and controlling a game. Stambouli is a young player and clearly still has a lot of room for improvement. If he hits the ground running immediately and works on the less refined aspects of his game, he could turn out to be one of the most useful signings of the transfer window.