After the shock news that Paris St Germain have made a bid for Benjamin Stambouli, TottenhamBlog spoke to Ross Mackiewicz, editor of the 1970PSG.com for his view on the transfer, the future of Adrien Rabiot and Hugo Lloris.
Stambouli looked set to join Watford last week, so it’s a big shock for PSG to suddenly show interest. Has this deal surprised you and your fellow PSG fans as much as us?
Very much so but at the same time it appear to be a logical decision. By losing Yohan Cabaye we needed to find a replacement but the Stambouli link was the last that anyone expected.
At the same time it makes sense by bringing in a home grown talent who – hopefully – has his best years ahead of him. Laurent Blanc is keen to give French talent a chance and I am sure he will get his fair share of playing time. It is up to him break that monopoly of Blaise Matuidi, Marco Verratti and Thiago Motta in the middle (assuming the latter stays).
How is Stambouli viewed in France? Was he expected to make a bigger impact in England?
He is regarded very highly in Montpellier. The lad was part of the infamous Ligue 1 title win in 2012, ironically just pipping PSG to the post and continued his development over the next two seasons. Being the anchorman at the base of midfield, he was known for his positional awareness and showed maturity in that position.
Of course there was always that hope that he would become even better with a move to a bigger club and although he has lacked first-team opportunities at White Hart Lane, the experience will have done him good.
With Cabaye recently sold to Crystal Palace, the view in England is that Stambouli is merely being signed to make up the numbers. Do you think he has a chance of establishing himself at PSG?
It is up to the player and how much he wants it. Yes, he is signed as a like-for-like replacement but with Motta’s legs not getting any younger and possibly seeking a move away, there is an opportunity there for someone to step up to the plate. We have been linked with the likes of Axel Witsel but if Stambouli puts the graft in at Camp des Loges, Laurent Blanc will not hesitate in giving him a chance.
Spurs were heavily linked with a move for Adrien Rabiot back in January. Could the signing of Stambouli pave the way for Rabiot to move in the opposite direction?
This is probable. Although the player signed a new contract last year, his future has continuously been questioned. There is no denying the talent of the player but his attitude leaves a lot to be desired.
He is tied to his mother’s apron strings who continuously makes the headlines with quotes about her son’s future and the fact he missed the coach to the Coupe de France Final because he was late just smacks of self-indulgence. This actually shocked the squad and there were reports of him being mocked for it.
As I say, he can be a terrific player. But until he matures and knuckles down, that won’t happen. Breaking away to another country/league could be just what he needs.
Finally, what’s the opinion of the Lloris situation in France? Is it thought that he’ll stay at White Hart Lane?
Lloris’ future is always questioned but he is already at big club in Tottenham. Being France’s number one though there is eagerness to see him play for one of the elite clubs in Europe within the Champions League.
He has been linked with ourselves a fair bit too but nothing has ever been concrete there. It is just easy for the papers to link a French club with one of the national team’s marquee names.
Lloris should give it at least another season in North London, there is no reason for him to move. Pochettino is building something and with Euro 2016 just a year away, he will want to be in good form heading into that.