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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Toulouse sign Giannelli Imbula on loan from Stoke City

Giannelli Imbula failed to live up to expectations at Stoke.

Ligue 1 club Toulouse have signed Giannelli Imbula on loan from Stoke City.

Stoke broke their transfer record when they signed Imbula, 24, from Porto in the winter transfer window in 2016, but the former Marseille midfielder did not match expectations and now returns to France.

He made just 28 appearances in all competitions for Stoke, starting just one competitive game in 2017.

Stoke boss Mark Hughes said at the end of last season: "It is fair to say with G it hasn't quite worked out as any of us would want and if there was interest in him, we'd consider that.

"Sometimes players can come to clubs and find it more difficult and the Premier League is a different league as well. He has struggled with that to a certain extent.

"He probably hasn't progressed as well as we would have liked and that has been a frustration for him and for us."

Earlier on Thursday, Stoke announced that captain Ryan Shawcross had signed a new four-year deal.

The 29-year-old central defender, in his 10th season with the Potters, was in the final year of his previous contract.

Shawcross's representatives had been in protracted talks with the Potters over a new deal for several months, prompting speculation over the future of the former Manchester United defender.

But the Potters' skipper, first handed the captain's armband in 2010 by former manager Tony Pulis, always made clear his intention to stay at the Britannia Stadium.

He joined Stoke from United, initially on loan, in August 2007 and scored the only goal on his debut in a win at Cardiff. His move was made permanent the following January and he played a key role for the club when they won promotion to the Premier League in 2008.

Shawcross, who also had a loan spell at Royal Antwerp earlier in his career, is closing in on his 400th appearance for the Potters.

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