PFC Sochi sporting director Dmitry Rubashko has confirmed to Russian media that the club are trying to get a post-deadline deal over the line for Giannelli Imbula.
And there is optimism – seemingly blind optimism – that the Stoke City flop has “a highly professional approach,” will have no problems with motivation and is ready to perform at a high level.
Sochi, promoted last season, are currently bottom of the Russian Premier League and take on Arsenal Tula on Sunday.
Imbula has not played since a cup game while on loan for Lecce in early December – his only appearance since early October – and was released by mutual consent from Stoke on Saturday with 16 months on his contract remaining.
Rubashko was asked by SportBox if he was concerned about Imbula’s form on loan in Italy, Spain and France after falling out of favour in England.
He said: “The different championships in Europe have completely different speeds.
“For example (Russia midfielder) Aleksandr Golovin spoke about this when he moved to Monaco (from CSKA Moscow).
“If something is not right in a particular team, there may be various reasons. We hope that Sochi and Imbula will grow together and he will perform at a high level.”
Imbula’s career has nosedived since his rapid descent down Mark Hughes’s pecking order.
He had smashed Stoke’s transfer record in February 2016 when he joined from Porto – and could have apparently left to Juventus at a profit that summer – but was out of the team by September with his time at the club effectively finished.
But Rubashko said: “(Can he get his career back on track in Russia?) Why not?
“He is only 27 years old, he is a man who has performed in Europe for a long time so he has a highly professional approach to business and there will be no problems with his motivation.
“In addition, two new French speakers (Sochi also signed France World Cup winner Adil Rami) will make both better able to adapt to their new location.”