It’s safe to say that Giannelli Imbula didn’t endure the best of spells with Stoke City, in what was a brief spell with the club.
The midfielder only made 28 appearances for the Potters, and was sent out on loan to the likes of Toulouse and Lecce in the later stages of his time with Stoke.
Imbula arrived with high hopes of emulating the type of form that saw him impress with French side Marseille earlier in his career.
Imbula’s development was certainly pushed in the right direction by Marseille’s manager at the time, Marcelo Bielsa.
Bielsa is now in charge of Leeds United, who look as though they’re set to win a long-awaited promotion back into the Premier League this term.
Speaking in an interview with foottransfert, Imbula talked up the influence of Bielsa in his time with the French club, and thanked the Argentine for the impact he has made on him as a player.
“I read an article a few days ago in which a player compared him to the Professor in Casa de Papel (the Netflix series Money Heist).
“It made me smile because indeed, behind the genius of Bielsa hides a man concerned about the well-being of his players. He knew how to give me confidence in me. On bad nights, he had the right words to comfort us.
“In sporting terms, I have progressed a lot tactically thanks to him, especially in my movements, in the intensity of the game and in recovery. I am very grateful to him, he gave me the opportunity to show myself in my best light.”
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It’s no surprise to see him speaking highly of Bielsa.
The Argentine has been hugely impressive in his time with Leeds United so far, and I think he can take the club to the next level in the Premier League in the next few years.
His attention to detail is something else, and he clearly made a positive impact on Imbula’s playing career to date.
It’s a shame that his time with Stoke didn’t work out as was originally hoped, but he’ll be looking to get back to his best at the earliest of opportunities.