The Montpellier side that punched well above its weight last season is continuing to unravel, and it looks like playmaker Younes Belhanda will be following former team mate Olivier Giroud to North London as a result. With Tottenham said to be beginning negotiations for the star, talkSPORT's Transfer Spotlight has more...
Name: Younes Belhanda
Date of birth: 25/02/1990
Birthplace: Avignon, France
Position: Attacking midfielder/winger
International appearances: 15 (Morocco)
What's the latest news?
Belhanda was the brain behind Montpellier's romp to the Ligue 1 title last season, pulling the strings behind Olivier Giroud as the club's number ten. Things have turned sour since then however, with the club currently struggling in mid table and Belhanda's performances being questioned as a result. President Louis Nicollin has publicly declared that he's willing to listen to offers for the playmaker, providing they meet his €15m evaluation, a syn vastly reduced from what sides had previously expected to pay for the Moroccan. Tottenham are said to have opened negotiations, but will have to compete with Turkish side Fenerbahce.
Did you know?
1) Belhanda's talent at an early age meant he was offered the chance to join Marseille's youth academy, but the player opted for humble Montpellier to avoid moving away from his family.
2) Belhanda started out as a libero style defender, before later becoming a defensive midfielder. Montpellier coach Rene Girard spotted his attacking quality and decided to move him further up the pitch, where he has flourished ever since.
3) Montpellier owner Louis Nicollin has claimed that Belhanda “has more class” than Javier Pastore and Eden Hazard, while Zinedine Zidane called him “extraordinary”.
4) Belhanda has already endeared himself to Spurs supporters in a sense, after scoring a brilliant Panenka-style penalty against Arsenal in Montpellier's 2012/13 Champions League group stage game against the Gunners.
5) Belhanda is due to play for Morocco in the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, with his side drawn in a group containing host-nation South Africa, as well as Cape Verde and Angola.
“His real talent is dribbling, passing, and he has good technique, which can influence any game. I love this player.” Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.
“Since the start of the season he hasn't met our expectations and promise he showed. I believe he's finished with Montpellier. He's worth €15m, so all will be fine. Hazard went to England for €42m. Well, these days, Belhanda can't hold a candle to Hazard. I think he's worth €15m. It looks like Fenerbahce are in the running but they are banned from UEFA competitions for some time. I want to sell him, but I want hard cash.” Montpellier president Louis Nicollin on Belhanda.
Spurs fans, would you like to see Younes Belhanda arriving in the winter window? Let us know below...