Normally, when a player is sent on loan, it takes him a few games or so to get settled in, and, gradually, his performances will get better.
For Stoke’s Giannelli Imbula, however, things appear to be going the other way, with each week seeing a further dip in performance.
The Potters’ midfielder was sent to Toulouse in Ligue 1, back in the league he made a name for himself in the first place, as his future at bet365 Stadium looked rather bleak, but things aren’t exactly going his way.
His first game, against newly promoted Troyes, was his best so far, picking up a 5 in L’Equipe.
Admitting before the game he was at around 50% of his abilities, the midfielder showed glimpses of talent, but was taken off in the 67th minute.
While receiving a 5/10 might not sound all that impressive, it’s worth remembering the French newspaper are very harsh markers, with a 6/10 described as a ‘good performance’.
The next game saw the slightly more prepared Stoke loanee face Bordeaux, a far better side than Troyes.
Brought in by Pascal Dupraz to hopefully be a difference maker in midfield, Imbula was anything but, described as L’Equipe as ‘still being off the pace’ and ‘not pulling his weight’ in the middle of the pitch.
Given a 4/10 and labelled a ‘flop’, Sunday’s game against a limping Marseille was the ideal time for him to make a resurgence, to show everyone why his new manager keeps placing his trust in him.
Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.
Presented as one of the ‘flops’ of the game for the second week running, Imbula picked up a 3/10.
Returning to Marseille, the club that helped him grow and earn his move to Porto, L’Equipe state the player ‘didn’t shine’, trying to play a simple game, ‘even too simple at times, showing no desire to take risks or to be influential for Toulouse’.
It’s still early for Imbula, and there’s plenty of time for the Stoke midfielder to turn his season around, but we all know fans are quick to judge and slow to forget if results don’t go their way.
With two wins and two losses (against Monaco and Paris Saint-Germain) before his arrival, Toulouse have since only picked up one point over their past three games, a 0-0 draw against a newly promoted side, at home.