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Stoke City close in on highly-rated Porto midfielder

| 21.01.2016

Mark Hughes is set to dabble in some continental transfer activity once again with Porto’s highly-rated Giannelli Imbula emerging as a target for the Stoke City boss.

Midfielder Imbula signed for the Portuguese giants in the summer as part of €20m deal but has struggled to cement a place in the starting XI under Jose Peseiro.

According to reports the 23-year-old, who started his career at Guingamp before shining at Marseille, has also attracted admiring glances from Chelsea but Hughes believes the chance of first team football in the Premier League could see the Britannia emerge as the player’s favoured destination.

With Euro 2016 on the horizon Imbula will hope to impress France boss Didier Deschamps in the coming months and he is far more likely to do that on the pitch for the Potters than on the bench for either Porto or Chelsea.

A defensive midfielder by trade, if fulfilling the potential that saw him named Best Player of Ligue 2 in 2013, Imbula could be the final piece in the jigsaw that turns Stoke from Premier League also-rans into genuine contenders for consistent European football.

Stoke will get a chance to put their top 10 chances to the test this weekend when they travel to the King Power Stadium to take on this season’s surprise package Leicester.

The Potters are the 14/5 underdogs to claim all three points in the Midlands derby of sorts but with the Foxes an even money shot for victory the bookies think that Hughes’ men could struggle.

Add even more highly-rated European talent to his squad, however, and Stoke could be riding high come May.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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James Curtis

After studying for a degree in journalism and gaining his NCTJ, James contributed to a wide range of papers, online publications and broadcasters including the South London Press, Press Association and Sky Sports News before joining the Ladbrokes News team.