New Tottenham Hotspur signing Benjamin Stambouli, who joined Spurs from French Ligue 1 side Montpellier on transfer deadline day, is absolutely delighted with his move to North London.
Stambouli, a former France Under-21 international, has penned a five-year deal at White Hart Lane, despite interest from Fiorentina, Olympique de Marseille and Swansea City.
He was tempted by all three clubs, but then Tottenham made their offer.
“You can’t refuse a club like Tottenham. I didn’t hesitate.
“Going abroad was a choice for my personal life. I wanted to discover a new football, another culture.
“When you are born in Marseille, playing there is always difficult. Moreover, I didn’t have any guarantee to play in my best position as a midfielder.
“But Marseille made me think a lot. It was not the right moment to go there.
“With Swansea, it was a good opening door to the Premier League, Fiorentina are a competitive team and Marseille are one of the best French teams, so I didn’t know what to do.
“It was very complex. And then Tottenham came along.”
Securing a place in Spurs’ starting XI will not be easy for Stambouli; however, the departure of Lewis Holtby to Hamburg on a season-long loan deal certainly lessens the competition.
Stambouli faces first-team competition from compatriot Étienne Capoue, Mousa Dembélé, Nabil Bentaleb, and Paulinho.
“To be a regular in the first team will be difficult but that is high level football,” added the 24-year-old midfielder.
“There are a lot of good players, but that is no problem. I also faced competition at Montpellier before being regularly in the first team.
“I met Mauricio Pochettino on Monday. The coach wants to play a game that I like.
“I had a very good feeling. I was welcomed just like in a family. I will start training sessions on Tuesday.”
Internazionale wanted Borini on loan
The agent of Liverpool forward Fabio Borini, Marco De Marchi, has revealed the player was wanted — on loan — by Internazionale and “other very important clubs in Europe,” but the Reds ultimately did not consider any loan offers.
After being deemed surplus to requirements at the start of last term, Borini joined Sunderland on a season-long loan, impressing many while helping the Black Cats stave off relegation.
“‘The player still has two years on his contract with Liverpool and they decided not to consider offers for a loan,” De Marchi said.
“Inter Milan and other very important clubs in Europe wanted him on loan.
“Liverpool didn’t accept and then QPR made an offer to buy him immediately. But the proposal for the player was not a proposal for an important player.
“Now Fabio will stay with Liverpool and try to convince the coach to give him a chance. He is used to fighting for things.
“I don’t know what will happen in the January market.”
Sunderland agreed a £14 million fee for Borini in July, but the deal fell through, with the player wishing to compete for a place in Liverpool’s first-team.
With Balotelli having arrived from AC Milan for just £16 million and Sunderland having secured a loan deal for Internazionale’s Ricky Alvarez, Borini’s long-term future looks as uncertain as ever.