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Montpellier drop Premier League target Stambouli

AFP
Montpellier's French defender Benjamin Stambouli (R) during the French L1 football match Montpellier vs Marseille, on April 11, 2014 at the Mosson stadium in Montpellier
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Montpellier's French defender Benjamin Stambouli (R) during the French L1 football match Montpellier vs Marseille, on April 11, 2014 at the Mosson stadium in Montpellier (AFP Photo/Anne-Christine Poujoulat)

Montpellier (France) (AFP) - Midfielder Benjamin Stambouli, who has been linked with a move to the Premier League, has been left out of Montpellier's squad for this weekend's Ligue 1 clash with Metz.

"It is difficult to prepare for a match when you are worried about making a potentially career-making decision," Montpellier coach Rolland Courbis said, explaining why the 24-year-old would not feature at the Stade de la Mosson.

"In any case, insisting on playing Stambouli when he is on his way out of the club would send a message to the other players."

Stambouli, who played all of Montpellier's opening two Ligue 1 games this season, has a year remaining on his contract at the southern club.

French media reports have linked the player with a move to Premier League side Swansea City, who have already recruited France striker Bafetimbi Gomis this summer.

Italian outfit Fiorentina are also keen, with both clubs having made offers close to Montpellier's asking price of five million euros (£4m, $6.6m).

Stambouli was a regular in the Montpellier team that won the Ligue 1 title in 2012 and is a contender to be called up by France coach Didier Deschamps for next month's friendly at home to Spain.

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