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Spurs missed Schneiderlin but gained a bargain mirror image

| 02.09.2014

Morgan Schneiderlin wasn’t the first player to have a strop about wanting to leave Southampton this summer, but he was the first to botch his attempt to force a move away from St Mary’s.

Failing to reunite himself with his former manager at Tottenham Hotspur, as he was reportedly keen to do, means the French midfielder will be wearing red and white stripes until at least January, when the wave of speculation will rise again.

Whether Spurs, the season’s 16/5 top-four candidates, will be among the names aligned with a move for the 24-year-old remains to be seen after they secured Schneiderlin’s identical footballing twin in the dying embers of deadline day.

Benjamin Stambouli sealed a £4.7m switch to White Hart Lane from 2012 Ligue 1 champions Montpellier and is expected to rival compatriot Etienne Capoue as Mauricio Pochettino’s midfield anchor.

Able to play at the heart of the defence as well as he can screen it, Stambouli is the same age as Schneiderlin and arrived at a snip of the cost Saints would have demanded for their own anchor.

Only new Newcastle recruit Remy Cabella made more passes than Stambouli for Montpellier last season, so it’s clear the Marseille native will slot comfortably into the Lilywhites’ middle band, where Capoue is currently an integral passer:

A master of well-timed tackle, as shown in his below highlight reel, Stambouli’s dispossessing ability is embodied by being one of few Montpellier players not to see red last season, in a side that received 14 red cards.

Don’t expect goals to flow from his boot or bonce though. Stambouli has notched just three times since becoming a first-teamer in 2010, 112 appearances ago.

Instead Spurs fans can rely on their newest midfield acquisition to provide stability and energy. In short he’s the perfect Pochettino player.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.