Imbula with Marseille in 2013
|Full name||Giannelli Imbula Wanga|
|Date of birth||12 September 1992|
|Place of birth||Vilvoorde, Belgium|
|Height||1.86 m (6 ft 1 in)|
|Playing position||Defensive midfielder|
|Toulouse (on loan from Stoke City)|
|2017–||→ Toulouse (loan)||1||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 9 September 2017.
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 21:45, 18 November 2014 (UTC)
Giannelli Imbula Wanga (pronounced [dʒanɛli imbula]; born Gilbert Imbula, 12 September 1992) is a French professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for Toulouse on loan from Premier League club Stoke City.
Imbula began his career with French club Guingamp where he progressed from the youth teams to make his professional debut in October 2009. He helped Guingamp to promotion from the Championnat National in 2010–11. He established himself as a key member of the Guingamp team in Ligue 2 and one of the stand out players in the division which saw him win the Ligue 2 Player of the Year Award. This prompted Ligue 1 side Marseille to sign Imbula for a fee of €7 million. He spent two seasons at the Stade Vélodrome before joining Portuguese side Porto in the summer of 2015 for €20 million. After seven months at Porto, Imbula joined English Premier League club Stoke City for a club record £18.3 million.
Imbula was born in Vilvoorde, Belgium, to Congolese parents, who moved to Paris when he was young. Growing up he played youth team football with US Argenteuil, Racing Club, Paris Saint-Germain before moving to Guingamp when he was 15.
Imbula progressed through the youth team at the Stade du Roudourou and made his professional debut in Ligue 2 on 16 October 2009 in a game against Dijon, becoming the youngest player in Ligue 2 history at 17 years, 1 month and 4 days of age. He played 33 times in 2010–11, scoring twice helping Guingamp gain an instant promotion back to Ligue 2. He made 30 appearances in 2011–12 as the side finished seventh which was followed by promotion to Ligue 1 in 2012–13, with Imbula making 36 appearances, scoring two goals and he was named Ligue 2 Player of the Year.
In July 2013, Imbula joined Marseille for a fee of €7 million, including bonuses. He played 37 times for Marsille in 2013–14 as the team and Imbula failed to make a significant impact, finishing outside of the European places in sixth spot. However, under the management of Marcelo Bielsa in 2014–15, Imbula formed an effective understanding with André Ayew, André-Pierre Gignac and Dimitri Payet where they finished in fourth place in the league table and were the second highest goalscorers with 76 goals.
On 1 July 2015, Imbula signed a five-year contract with Portuguese side Porto for a fee of €20 million. He struggled, however, to settle in Portugal and reports emerged that Porto would be willing to let him leave in the 2016 January transfer window.
On 1 February 2016, Imbula joined English Premier League club Stoke City on a five-and-a-half year contract for a club record €24 million (£18.3 million). He made his Stoke debut on 6 February 2016 in a 3–0 defeat against Everton. Imbula scored his first goal for Stoke on 13 February in a 3–1 win over Bournemouth. He made a good start to his Stoke career and earned the praise of team mate Geoff Cameron. He scored in a 2–1 victory against West Ham United on the final day of the 2015–16 season, helping Stoke to a ninth-place finish.
Stoke and Imbula made a poor start to the 2016–17 campaign and he was dropped from the side by manager Mark Hughes. He returned to the side in December and January before again being left out of the squad by Hughes. Imbula made 14 appearances for Stoke in 2016–17 and it was reported that the club would be willing to cut their losses on Imbula in the summer transfer window.
Born to Congolese parents, Imbula was born in Belgium but raised in France, making him eligible for any of these three countries. In 2013, he received a call up from France U21 to compete in the Toulon Tournament. In October 2015, however, Imbula publicly expressed his desire to play for the Belgium national team, for which reason he has required authorization to FIFA to do so.
Style of play
Imbula plays as a defensive midfielder and has been described by Mark Hughes as being able to play in centre midfield.—"He's a defensive midfielder and he's got a lot of attributes in terms of understanding that role, but he can play in a three as well. I like that flexibility in players because it gives me more options. He's a good young player with good power, good ability on the ball, and a good range of passing."
- As of match played 9 September 2017
|Marseille B||2013–14||CFA 2||2||0||—||—||—||2||0|
|Stoke City||2015–16||Premier League||14||2||0||0||0||0||—||14||2|
|Toulouse (loan)||2017–18||Ligue 1||1||0||0||0||0||0||—||1||0|
- All appearances in UEFA Champions League
- "Taillé pour être grand". Le Télégramme. 26 August 2011.
- "Can Mark Hughes help Giannelli Imbula realise his potential at Stoke City?". ESPNFC. Retrieved 4 February 2016.
- Gianelli Imbula on FFF.fr (in French)
- "Who is Stoke City's record transfer signing Giannelli Imbula from FC Porto?". Sky Sports. Retrieved 4 February 2016.
- "Imbula profile". Talk Sport. Retrieved 26 June 2015.
- "Giannelli Imbula // Player Profile". 4231 Stoke. Archived from the original on 15 March 2016. Retrieved 4 February 2016.
- Imbula joins Marseille
- "Futebol Clube do Porto – Futebol, SAD" (PDF). FC Porto. Retrieved 2 July 2015.
- "Porto willing to sell Imbula - agent". 442. Retrieved 4 February 2016.
- F.C. Porto (1 February 2016). "Comunicado" [Communication] (PDF) (Press release) (in Portuguese). CMVM. Retrieved 3 July 2017.
- "Giannelli Is A Potter". Stoke City. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
- "Transfer deadline day: Stoke City sign Giannelli Imbula from Porto". BBC Sport. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
- "Imbula Handed Potters Debut". Stoke City. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
- "Bournemouth 1-3 Stoke". BBC Sport. Retrieved 13 February 2016.
- "Geoff Cameron tries to bite his tongue over Giannelli Imbula". Stoke Sentinel. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
- "Stoke 2-1 West Ham". BBC Sport. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
- "Mark Hughes gives Stoke City outcast Giannelli Imbula encouragement over future". Stoke Sentinel. Retrieved 3 November 2016.
- "We are not giving up on Giannelli Imbula says Stoke City boss". Stoke Sentinel. Retrieved 22 May 2017.
- "What next for Giannelli Imbula, Stoke’s £18.3m enigma?". Stoke Sentinel. Retrieved 22 May 2017.
- "Games played by Giannelli Imbula in 2016/2017". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
- "Stoke City ready to sell record signing Giannelli Imbula this summer". The Telegraph. Retrieved 22 May 2017.
- "Giannelli Imbula: Stoke midfielder signs loan deal with French club Toulouse". BBC Sport. Retrieved 31 August 2017.
- "45 joueurs présélectionnés pour le match RDC-Guinée Equatoriale de la CAN-Afrique du Sud 2013". ACPCongo.com. 17 July 2012.
- "Young star chooses to play for Belgium over France". Dream Team FC. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
- "Porto's Giannelli Imbula yet to decide between Belgium and France". ESPN FC. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
- "Don't compare record signing with Steven Nzonzi, says Mark Hughes". Stoke Sentinel. Retrieved 2 February 2016.
- "Stoke City’s summer of love: Giannelli Imbula becomes third Potter to get wed in close-season". Stoke Sentinel. Retrieved 3 November 2016.
- "Premier League footballer caught doing 72mph through 50mph zone in Stockport". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 3 November 2016.
- Giannelli Imbula at Soccerway
- Includes cup competitions such as Coupe de France and Taça de Portugal
- Includes cup competitions such as Coupe de la Ligue and Taça da Liga
- "Games played by Giannelli Imbula in 2013/2014". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
- "Games played by Giannelli Imbula in 2014/2015". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
- "Games played by Giannelli Imbula in 2015/2016". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
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