French publication L’Equipe report that Porto are set to jump the queue populated almost exclusively with Premier League clubs to sign Montpellier midfielder Benjamin Stambouli.
The 23-year-old is a target for newly-promoted QPR, while the makeovers West Ham and Stoke are undergoing mean there is room for the versatile Frenchman in their ranks also.
But Stambouli isn’t the only e holding-midfielder in Ligue 1 available at an affordable price and Porto’s apparent gazumping of this particular target means they can turn their attention to the man they should’ve been chasing all along.
Bordeaux’s Gregory Sertic proved as skilled a practitioner in the screening department last term, without ever letting his responsibilities compromise his creative talents.
In total he made 2.3 tackles per game on average, complimenting that with 1.6 interceptions.
Stambouli won back possession three times in each of his 37 French top-flight appearances last time around, cutting out 1.5 passes on average to boot, but was dribbled past on 1.3 instances, compared to the 0.9 adversaries that got around Sertic.
It’s the latter’s ball-playing prowess that makes him a better bet for reformed duo West Ham and Stoke though.
A commendable ten assists were laid on by the boot of Sertic, dwarfing Stambouli’s best lock-picking efforts by nine.
Furthermore, his accuracy is also superior to his countryman’s, hitting the mark with 86 per cent of his passes last term, compared to the 82.7 per cent managed by Stambouli.
This stat is made all the more impressive through the fact that Sertic attempted over 12 passes more per match than the Montpellier man, whose 0.7 key passes per game average also falls short of the 1.7 set by his adversary.