Stoke sign Imbula for record £18.3m

Giannelli Imbula

Giannelli Imbula (centre) played for Porto against Stoke in pre-season

Stoke have broken their transfer record to sign midfielder Giannelli Imbula from Porto for a fee of £18.3m on a five-and-a-half-year contract.

The 23-year-old became Portuguese football’s record signing when he joined Porto in a £15.1m deal from Marseille seven months ago.

He has played for France Under-21s, but could also play for Belgium.

The Potters have let Chelsea midfielder Marco van Ginkel leave his loan spell early to join Dutch club PSV.

The 23-year-old, capped twice by the Netherlands, had played 21 times for Stoke during a season-long loan spell, but he will now be in Eindhoven until the summer.

Stoke’s previous record deal was winger Xherdan Shaqiri, who cost £12m in the summer.

Imbula, who started his career at Guingamp, played in both of Porto’s Champions League games against Chelsea this season.

Potters chairman Peter Coates told BBC Radio 5 live: “If he is as good as we think he is, he’ll keep his value. You’ve got to think of it from a business point of view. We want him to be worth more than we paid for him.

“This move has been on and off for a few days. We said we were withdrawing the offer, then they came back.”

Stoke midfielder Charlie Adam told BBC Sport: “We played Porto in a friendly in Germany last summer and I thought he was excellent.

“He went off injured because I gave him a little kick and gave him a dead leg, but he showed against us that he has the right qualities to play in England.

“I would say he is a Patrick Vieira type – a strong and powerful midfielder, a real driving force in there and perfect for the Premier League.”

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