Aston Villa open transfer talks to sign French midfielder - The Verdict

Morgan Sanson points to his Marseille badge

Aston Villa have begun talks to sign Marseille midfielder Morgan Sanson, according to BBC Sport.

The 26-year-old is said to have been linked with a number of Premier League clubs and could be available for just £15m this month, with Marseille open to selling in order to fund their own January signings. 

Sanson arrived from Montpellier in January 2017 and has since established himself as one of Marseille's key players, making at least 25 Ligue 1 starts in each of the last three campaigns.

This term has yielded five goal contributions in 11 league appearances but Sanson's value is nonetheless said to have dropped from around £25m, meaning the potential fee to sign him this month represents something of a bargain. 

But does a comparatively modest price actually mean he'd be a good signing for Villa, or could this be a wasted expense with the likes of John McGinn and Douglas Luiz already at Dean Smith's disposal?

GIVEMESPORT writers Jack Saville, Jonathan Gorrie and Christy Malyan provide their verdicts below...

Jack Saville

"There is always a danger in signing a player based on their form in Ligue 1. Nicolas Pepe has struggled to establish himself as a first-team regular at Arsenal, and Florian Thauvin flopped unceremoniously at Newcastle United before re-emerging as one of the hottest players in France following his return to Marseille.

"Despite those notable warning signs, Sanson has all the makings of an ideal partner for McGinn. Blessed with technical brilliance in possession - tight ball control, the ability to ghost past a defender, a propensity for incisive passing - and the tenacity to retrieve possession (1.9 tackles per game this season), Sanson could complement McGinn in an all-action midfield duo.

"Sanson has been touted with a Premier League switch for some time, with Spurs and Arsenal both reportedly interested in the past, so Villa's success here could represent a genuine coup for the club." 

Jonathan Gorrie

"Where exactly Sanson fits into the Aston Villa midfield at the moment isn't clear.

"Indeed, Ross Barkley's arrival has already seemingly forced Conor Hourihane out of the door and neither McGinn or Luiz look as if they'll be dropped anytime soon.

"With the managerial situation looking precarious at Chelsea, perhaps Villa would be better served waiting to see what happens with Barkley.

"Though Frank Lampard is understood to retain an interest in bringing him back to Stamford Bridge, who knows what a potential replacement will think given all the Blues' attacking riches.

"Both Sanson and Barkley largely play through the middle and, with the latter already proving a key cog in Villa's slick attacking machine, it surely makes sense to focus attention on him if possible."

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Christy Malyan

"This potential deal is yet another sign of Villa's ambition after an impressive summer spending spree that brought in Ollie Watkins, Bertrand Traore, Emi Martinez and Matty Cash. 

"The club already boast a really strong engine room through McGinn and Luiz as well as some fantastic options in more advanced positions (Trezeguet, Anwar El Ghazi, Traore and Jack Grealish), while they have Ross Barkley to come back into the mix as well. 

"Nonetheless, they're still looking to further strengthen the squad and Sanson looks like he'd be able to do just that. He's got a solid record of goals and assists in the French top flight but can also play deeper and win the ball back, which explains why he was linked with Wolves and Arsenal in the summer.

"It also illustrates just how much he'd offer Smith in midfield, whether used in a defensive, attacking or balanced role, but the real story here is the sheer relentlessness of Villa's recruitment.

"Clearly they want to restore the club back to the days of regular European football and while Sanson's arrival won't be enough on it's own, it's another signal of Villa's intent."

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