Scouting Report on Chelsea Target Giannelli Imbula: Is He Worth £25 Million?

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Scouting Report on Chelsea Target Giannelli Imbula: Is He Worth £25 Million?
Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

Could Chelsea be ready to splash out on yet another of Europe's up-and-coming stars? If The Express newspaper is to be believed, that appears to be very much the case, with rumors surfacing that Jose Mourinho is chasing Giannelli Imbula for £25 million.

The 21-year-old only joined his current club Marseille from Guingamp this summer, but it hasn't stopped Chelsea from scouting him and showing an interest in his services, according to the report.

Is the Frenchman worthy all the hype, though? Even still, is he worth the sort of fee it's believed Chelsea will need to splash out in order to bring him to Stamford Bridge?

Bleacher Report attempts to answer those questions and a few more.

Who is he?

Currently plying his trade in the south of France with Marseille, Imbula is one of the hottest prospects in Ligue 1 right now.

He joined L'OM from Guingamp this summer for a reported €7 million, having helped the club achieve promotion back to the top flight.

The Belgium-born defensive midfielder had been at Stade du Roudourou for six years, making over 100 league appearances for the club in that time.

Indeed, such was his form last term, he was voted Player of the Season for Ligue 2, which prompted Marseille to bring him to Stade Velodrome.

Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Since then, he has reportedly been pursued by a host of clubs, including Chelsea's London rivals Arsenal (as per The Mirror).

Playing style

In terms of Chelsea's current system, Imbula would appear ideal. After all, he already plays alongside Alaixys Romao in the double pivot of Marseille's midfield and has looked strong.

It's an area that remains a concern for Chelsea in the long term. Frank Lampard is 35 years old, and despite his attempts to adapt his game, it can only be seen as a short-term solution, given his age.

Mourinho has experimented with different partnerships in the pivot this season but is yet to settle on what he feels is Chelsea's best duo. Is it Ramires and Lampard? John Obi Mikel and Lampard? Mikel and Ramires?

We're not too certain, and it seems Mourinho isn't, either. What we can be sure of, however, is that Chelsea lack depth in that area and are without a real specialist to marshal the heart of midfield.

With his tackling ability and athleticism, Imbula does appear adept, although his youth suggests he may lack the maturity and confidence to emerge as Chelsea's midfield leader in that regard.

Claudio Villa/Getty Images


For every young player, there are considerable concerns as he grows and matures under the watchful eye of the world's media. Every mistake is analyzed and in some cases amplified, adding to the pressure he already feels to succeed with his club.

Imbula is no different and this week was dropped from the French Under-21s team for a breach of discipline, apparently saying "something inappropriate" to a member of staff, as reported in the same Express report linking him with a move to Chelsea.

For now, what he said and it's context is merely conjecture, but it does suggest a player who needs to learn a few more lessons before he takes on the responsibility of playing for one of Europe's biggest clubs.

How he reacts to this latest incident will give us a better insight into his character, although for a player so young, he must be given the benefit of the doubt and allowed to move on.

That said, Mourinho likes his players to remain disciplined, so it's not a good sign for how their relationship would develop were he to move to West London.

Should Chelsea make a move for Giannelli Imbula?

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Should Chelsea buy him?

It's a difficult question, given the players Chelsea have at their disposal. By purchasing Imbula, it would be a clear sign that other players of a similar age at Stamford Bridge are not valued.

The likes of Nathan Ake and Josh McEachran are desperate for an opportunity. By adding a player to the squad, who like them comes with limited experience at the highest level, would force them further down the pecking order, limiting their chances.

Chelsea need a player who is ready to come in and make an instant impression, becoming a key part of their team. Imbula doesn't appear to be that man right now.

A Sami Khedira or Xabi Alonso would have the personality and experience to do just that and would possibly come with a similar price tag, too.

If Chelsea are eager to give youth a chance in key areas, they can do a lot worse than look a little closer to home.

Highlights reel

Make your mind up on Giannelli Imbula from his highlights reel below.

Garry Hayes is Bleacher Report's lead Chelsea correspondent and will be following the club from a London base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter here @garryhayes

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