Ostracised at Stoke City, Giannelli Imbula made it very clear this summer he wanted to leave the bet365 Stadium if he could.
After a lot of rumours, Lecce in Italy offered him a way out in Serie A, where he could hopefully kickstart his career once more and earn himself a transfer away from the Championship side.
In fact, the Italian side have an obligation to buy in the loan deal that is triggered after a certain set of conditions, which were reported to be if relegation back to Serie B was avoided and if he makes 25 appearances of 45 minutes of more in the current campaign.
Four games in and it hasn’t been a great start for either target, as Lecce currently find themselves 18th with three points, and Imbula has yet to feature.
Speaking to TuttoMercatoWeb, the Italian club’s president revealed the reason behind this and explained why the transfer was done in the first place.
He said: “It was our sports director’s intuition. Stoke City were relegated, so they couldn’t have such an important profile like him at the club. He was at Rayo Vallecano last year.
“He arrived here without any training, unfortunately he was stopped. His reconditioning will require an extended period of time, and then the coach will slowly reintegrate him.”
Whether those 25 appearances are in all competitions or simply in the league remains to be seen, but unless Imbula secures a starting spot straight away after regaining his fitness, it doesn’t bode well for Stoke City and their loanee.
Then again, even if he, let’s say, only plays in 23 games, there’s every chance the two clubs could find an agreement regardless, much like Arsenal and Napoli did for David Ospina after the goalkeeper failed to meet the conditions of his loan option to make it permanent.