One of the great mysteries of the last three and a half years in England has been the case of Giannelli Imbula.

The midfielder, bought by Stoke for £21.9m in 2016 after a rather terrible season with Porto, never managed to make a name for himself at the bet365 Stadium, which led to loans to Toulouse, Rayo Vallecano and now Lecce.

The first two didn’t exactly go well, but neither were as bad as the current one in Italy, where he has only made four appearances for the club since the start of the season.

There was hope some sort of exit could be sorted during the January transfer window, but no club was found despite a number of interested parties.

Embed from Getty Images

Calciomercato name Nîmes Olympique, Club Brugge, Anderlecht, Sivasspor and Gaziantespor as some of the teams, but nothing ever materialised.

Since then, the player has been left out of the registered list of players for Serie A for the second half of the season, and with Lecce out of the Coppa Italia, there isn’t much left for him to do.

Now, he’s seen as a ‘paid tourist’ in the Salentine Peninsula, which, to be honest, there are worse areas to be stuck in.

Then again, that wasn’t the whole point of this loan, and this latest failure will likely give Stoke another headache once he returns, as they’ll yet again need to come up with a solution.