One of the great enigmas of French football over the past few years has been Giannelli Imbula’s struggles, as the midfielder went from being a great prospect at Guingamp and Marseille to flopping rather impressively at both Porto and Stoke City.

Bought by the Potters for a record amount, Imbula, bar glimpses of what he is really capable of, struggled in the Premier League, and was allowed to leave in the summer by Mark Hughes, who clearly didn’t have any intention in playing him regularly during the current campaign.

Currently on loan at Toulouse in Ligue 1, the 25-year-old is trying to relaunch his career, yet to pick up an international cap for either France or Belgium, two countries he is eligible to play for.

For many of managers who oversaw his development back in his home country, Imbula’s career has been a mystery, as explained by Elie Baup in an interview with Le Télégramme.

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He said: “It’s hard to understand. He’s got exceptional technique, a great ability to break the lines and a remarkable talent at protecting the ball. He had everything. I envisioned him playing for France. 

“In training, he was serious and professional. With him, there was never fun moments. Maybe his personality caused him a few problems”.

Hinting at a confidence border-lining on arrogance, the Stoke City midfielder’s former manager explained Imbula could be used as a example to “ponder on” for young players.

Yet to find his form for Toulouse, the midfielder will be hoping this weekend’s against his former side Guingamp is when everything clicks.

Otherwise, it could be a very long season.