Tottenham used the final hours of the transfer window to make alterations to their defensive-midfield department, allowing Sandro to join QPR for £10m after conscripting Montpellier’s Benjamin Stambouli for a bargain bin £4.5m.
After chasing Morgan Schneiderlin for the majority of the summer, Mauricio Pochettino settled for his budget-friendly countryman as he bids to improve the Lilywhites’ ball-playing capabilities in this position.
Rated a 5/2 to finish in the top four this term, Spurs had to fend off interest from a host of clubs across the continent in order to nail down the widely underrated Frenchman’s services.
A proven practitioner in the heart of midfield, as well as in defence, Stambouli’s versatility is one of his biggest assets, while he also boasts all of the physical attributes that will ensure he isn’t overawed by the rigours of the Premier League.
His radar is in good condition too, having found 82.8 per cent of his teammates with his passes last term, averaging around 40 per outing.
This is a figure that only new Newcastle man Remy Cabella bested in the Montpellier side in 2013/14.
Perhaps his greatest strength, though, is his ability to break down opposition attacks.
Favouring brains over brawn, Stambouli is of the erudite breed of holding-midfielder who relies on anticipation and interceptions to retrieve the ball for his side, as opposed to flattening foes with crunching tackles, a la Sandro.
In a side that received a staggering 14 red cards last time around, the Marseille-native wasn’t dismissed once despite making more tackles than any of his teammates on average, underlining how he’s mastered this technique.
One point of contention is that, unlike Schneiderlin, Stambouli doesn’t have the same unrelenting engine/desire to steam forward that the Southampton man has, meaning Pochettino may have to fine-tune his universally-appreciated system to incorporate his newest recruit.