• Premier League

Belhanda wants move to England or Germany

ESPN staff
May 30, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Younes Belhanda wishes to play in the Champions League next season © Getty Images
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Younes Belhanda hopes to move to England or Germany this summer after declaring he'll "not learn any more" in France.

One of the chief architects of Montpellier's surprise Ligue 1 title triumph in 2011-12, Belhanda has suffered something of a season-long hangover since, producing below-par performances while his club finished outside the top places in Ligue 1.

Montpellier president Louis Nicollin declared Belhanda's career at the club "over" earlier this season, and recently admitted the pay rise the Moroccan international was given last summer makes him unaffordable. The 23-year-old will be allowed to leave the Stade de la Mosson in the coming weeks and has a clear idea of where he would like to go.

"There has been contact, but things need to be firmed up. I want to go to England or Germany. I think that I'm cut out for football which is both physical and technical, which is based on taking risks. My wish would be to play in the Champions League next season, but I could also sign for a club with a great history," Belhanda, who was linked to both Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur in January, told L'Equipe.

"I'll not learn any more here [in France]. I know how we play here. I need to see a different mentality, other facilities, a different passion. The Champions League with Montpellier opened my eyes."

Outshone by team-mate Remy Cabella during his club's maiden Champions League campaign, Belhanda's early season domestic displays paled in comparison to those he had produced the previous year. As the critics lined up, Belhanda said he felt as Christmas approached that he had to leave the club where he had come through the youth academy.

"That was when I was prepared to just go anywhere," he explained. "I'd had enough of hearing all the criticism from everyone. I tried to get things together, empty my head of those thoughts, but it was hard. My choice to leave in January was to leave for leaving's sake.

"Fortunately there was the Africa Cup of Nations with Morocco. I was able to think about something else. I managed to get out of that hell. I went from being the darling boy to a hate figure. Going through that at home was really painful."

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