Finally exiting his Stoke nightmare, Giannelli Imbula got the move he wanted towards the end of the transfer window, as a return to Ligue 1 presented itself.

Monaco were the first, but their dilly-dallying started to frustrate the 25-year-old, and when Toulouse came forward, the former Marseille starlet jumped at the opportunity to rekindle his career.

Bought from Porto for a record fee, Imbula never managed to convince Mark Hughes he deserved a regular starting spot at bet365 Stadium, much to the player’s displeasure.

Speaking in a press conference on Monday following his loan to the south of France, relayed by L’Equipe, the defensive midfielder explained his decision to the media.

He said: “I needed to find a club in which I’d be able to express myself. I had other offers than Toulouse’s, but the fact the club is like a family, with a young dressing room that lives well were factors that helped me make my decision.”

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As for what he hopes to achieve during his temporary spell with Pascal Dupraz’s team, Imbula only has one thing in mind.

He added: “Today, all I want to do is find pleasure in playing again. I haven’t played a game in a month. I’m not 100%, but I’m ready to start. I need those sensations back. I can offer penetration, verticality and my technical ability to this team”.

During his time with the Potters, Imbula scored two goals in 28 appearances in all competitions.