Gianelli Imbula has revealed that he left Stoke to join Rayo Vallecano on the advice of former teammate and friend Gael Kakuta.

Imbula never really established himself in the Potteries after joining from Porto in 2016, scoring just two Premier League goals in 26 appearances before he was loaned to Toulouse last season.

Despite ​Stoke's relegation to the Championship, it did not seem that Imbula would be given a second chance at the club, so he instead decided to join Rayo on the recommendation of former Chelsea winger Kakuta.


Kakuta played with Imbula at youth level for France and had just completed a move to the newly-promoted La Liga side himself, signing a four-year contract after leaving Chinese Super League outfit Hebei China Fortune.

Kakuta's advice proved persuasive enough for Imbula, who was open to the move, allowing Rayo chairman Raul Martin Presa to sign the former Marseille midfielder on a season-long loan.

"I'm very happy to be here, I've been very well received," said Imbula as was presented to the press, quoted by the ​Stoke Sentinel.

Stoke City v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League

"I hope everything goes well and we can have a good season.

"I did not know anyone from the Spanish League, it was Gael Kakuta who gave me advice and I hope that if he has told me to come and be happy I can do it in the best way possible. I had no references from other teams, just what Gael told me."

Imbula could make his La Liga debut when Rayo travel to Huesca on Friday evening.