Many things have changed at Tottenham Hotspur over the course of the past decade, not least the steady stream of managers that have taken a turn in the dugout, but one will thing will always stay the same, Daniel Levy loves a bargain.
After taking advantage of low buyout fees to capture Federico Fazio and Eric Dier, not to mention swapping Gylfi Sigurdsson for Ben Davies, Spurs look set to sign Benjamin Stambouli from Montpellier for a rumoured £5m.
The midfielder has just one year left on his contract at the French club, putting him squarely in the Levy bracket, and Spurs have moved quickly to try and beat Fiorentina to his signature.
As Fazio appears a low-cost, easily attainable alternative to Mateo Musacchio, whose third-party issues scuppered a move to London, Stambouli could well be signed instead of Morgan Schneiderlin.
Southampton have been insistent they would not sell the French midfielder from the off and even if that is not entirely true, the fee would likely be several times that of Stambouli.
So, what can Spurs expect from the 24-year-old, who it is fair to say is far from a household name in the UK.
Firstly, Stambouli is not a true defensive midfielder, something which might suggest Sandro is likely to stay at White Hart Lane.
While the Frenchman is not adverse to the dirty work required in midfield – only Maxime Gonalons has recovered possession more often than his 281 times in Ligue 1 since last season – perhaps his best attribute is his passing.
Stambouli is excellent at moving the ball into the attacking players quickly, an attribute that Mauricio Pochettino values very highly and something Etienne Capoue is also adept at.
The 24-year-old is also good at reading the play, making 3.1 interceptions per game in Ligue 1 last season, the 10th-highest figure in the league.
A more attacking player than Capoue, but with similar attributes, Stambouli will compete with Mousa Dembele, Paulinho and Nabil Bentaleb for the slot next to former Toulouse player.
This is a role many had suspected Pochettino was saving for Schneiderlin, but Southampton’s intransigence, along with Bentaleb’s fine start to the campaign, might have convinced him a big fee for his former charge wasn’t necessary.
The midfield duo is a key part of the Argentine’s system, explaining why Spurs continue to buy players there even when well-stocked, and Stambouli ticks all the boxes as a Schneiderlin alternative, especially the one marked ‘bargain’.
After winning their first four games in all competitions, Spurs are 17/10 to pick up another three points in their next match against Liverpool.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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