Giannelli Imbula targeted as Stoke consider record bid

Giannelli Imbula joined Porto from Marseille last summer
Image: Giannelli Imbula joined Porto from Marseille last summer

Stoke are considering a club-record bid for Porto midfielder Giannelli Imbula, according to Sky sources.

Mark Hughes has repeatedly refused to rule out moving for the Belgian-born 23-year-old, who represented France at youth level.

As recently as this week Hughes admitted his admiration for Imbula, who left Marseille for Porto last summer in a deal worth £15m.

And any deal for the player could cost around £19m, £7m more than City spent to sign Xherdan Shaqiri in the summer.

Hughes on Thursday played down the likelihood of a major signing this month when asked about Imbula, Shane Long and Saido Berahino.

He said: "All good players, all at good clubs, and the clubs they are at will probably feel they want to keep them there.

Xherdan Shaqiri of Stoke City scores his team's first goal during against Everton
Image: Xherdan Shaqiri, pictured scoring against Everton, is Stoke's current record signing

"It is inappropriate for me to talk about individual players, other than to say we're in the market for good players. We are actively looking. We think there are opportunities if everything falls into place, but there are a lot of factors.

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"We never get too ahead of ourselves because we know the potential pitfalls of the transfer process. We just have to be patient. If it happens, we'll be delighted. If we have to bide our time until the summer, so be it."

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