Aston Villa set to reap rewards from Johan Lange’s £ 14million transfer appeal
Aston Villa are yet to see the best of Morgan Sanson after the Frenchman joined the club in January for a £ 14million handover from Marseille on a four-and-a-half-year contract.
The 26-year-old midfielder made six Champions League appearances last season for the French club before moving to Birmingham as Villa transfer chiefs sought discounted offers to bolster Dean Smith’s side.
Villa was prepared for a calm January after such a successful summer window that saw Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens spend money on Emiliano Martinez, Ollie Watkins, Matty Cash and Bertrand Traore.
However, Villa’s astute recruiting department is still on red alert for ‘good value’ offers and after negotiating with financially crippled Marseille, Sanson flew into rainy Birmingham before the January window closed early. of the year.
Next season, the midfielder will prove why Villa was almost tempted to pay nearly double the sanctioned fees for his services at the start of last campaign, with time passing to his hopes of representing France in the next major tournaments.
This summer, the highly prized French team of Didier Deschamps entered the European Championships as a bookmaker’s favorite after winning the World Cup in 2018 and finishing second in EURO 2016 at home.
Eight of the 26 players of the France squad for EURO 2020 played alongside Sanson in the Under-21 squad, including Champions League stars Prensel Kimpembe, Adrien Rabiot, Thomas Lemar, Ousmane Dembele, Kurt Zouma, Corentin Tolisso, Kingsley Coman and Benjamin Pavard.
Although Sanson will watch the tournament from his front room while continuing to treat a knee injury that ended his first Premier League season prematurely, his hopes of playing for the Blues are still alive.
Villa fans only saw Sanson start three times last season after the Frenchman suffered an injury in a 3-1 win over Fulham in early April and he took to social media to confirm that he would be absent for the remainder of the campaign.
The 26-year-old wrote: “Bad news regarding my injury which will take a little longer than expected. See you next season guys and trust me. Stronger than ever!”
While there is largely an unknown amount left in a Villa jersey, coming out of former French league rookies, Villa has had varying success in spotting talent in what can often be a lucrative market.
From Charles N’Zogbia to Jean Makoun, Villa has found little bang for the buck with players who have started their development in France. Jordan Amavi is halting the trend somewhat – given he made his professional debut in French Ligue 1 – but like his former Marseille teammate, Sanson is all the better off having spent the majority of his professional teenage years in France. French elite.
Villa recruiting chief Robert Mackenzie has scoured French football in depth to spot N’Golo Kante and Riyad Mahrez, and with linked club Pope Matar Sarr and Mehdi Zerkane in recent weeks, Sanson won’t be the last French export. football to get to Villa Park.
Located next to the first right over the Mulsannes Strait of the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans circuit, the 18-year-old started his journey to the Premier League in 2012 when he made his professional debut.
After rising through the ranks at Le Mans as a child with a fresh face, Sanson dreamed of following in the footsteps of David Ginola and Robert Pires to earn a teenage living growing up around the vineyards that surrounded his district of Saint-Doulchard on the outskirts of Bourges.
His slick mohawk may have added a few inches to his height as a youngster, but with play paired with broad shoulders and tough tackles, Sanson’s muddy shorts were no longer the halo yellow hue they were. formerly after impressing in his debut Le Campagne Mans 2012/13.
15 games after scoring his first goal for the French against AS Monaco, Sanson was on the move – such is the lifespan of exciting youngsters in the “reliever” clubs of the lower French divisions. Having played only 1,700 minutes in the field, the Montpellier Ligue 1 team were persuaded to try their luck in 2013.
The then teenager was set to become the long-term replacement for Supreme Remy Cabella, and Sanson flew like a duck into the water. He showed many encouraging sides to his game, either winning the ball and then throwing a counterattack, driving his races, playing deeper or taking the role of playmaker, pushing the ball into the channels. and passing in front of his opponents.
In his second full season at La Mosson Stadium, Sanson scored six times, made two assists and seemed quite the up-and-coming player capable of living up to the hype that had surrounded him for several years, until that a serious injury puts his chances. break into the senior French national team after impressing in the Under-21 squad that same season.
Bumps and small hassles have marred Sanson’s promising career throughout, but with a new Premier League season on the horizon for the midfielder, he will be looking to put injuries behind him and start his next chapter with Villa.
Although he didn’t quite deliver on the promise he already showed as a teenager by turning the heads of French national team scouts at Le Mans and Montpellier, Sanson was named in Outside of the Boot’s 100 Best Young Players to Watch in 2015. Ninth in the best midfielders category, an anterior cruciate ligament injury had serious consequences for his immediate development as an exciting young player.
Recovering from an ACL injury is never easy, and for Sanson, it almost ended his time in Montpellier. Worsened by another separate knee issue, his injury setbacks meant he could only make six starts in the 2015/16 campaign – the very season that Villa plunged into the French market for several midfielder stars from League 1.
The confusion off the pitch in Montpellier had played its part in several disappointing championships under three different managers, and Sanson’s final coach at the club, Pascale Baills would lose the club’s star midfielder to Marseille’s Rudi Garcia for 12 million euros – a nice profit for Montpellier in what was the only saving grace for a club which was crowned Ligue 1 champions only two years before signing Sanson for just over € 600,000.
At the heart of the dynamic Marseille midfielder of André Villas-Boas, Sanson played a crucial role in helping the French club to overtake Braga, Athletic Bilbao, RB Leipzig, Red Bull Salzburg and up to face the Atletico Madrid in the 2018 Europa League final. Despite a 3-0 loss to Diego Simeone’s side in Lyon, Sanson achieved the best league result of his career, finishing fourth in Ligue 1 after his first full campaign at the Stade Vélodrome.
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Having played in French football for almost eight years and with no sign of a closer national team calling than he was in his younger years, Sanson was heavily linked with a move to London, along with West Ham, Arsenal and Tottenham All are interested in the midfielder valued at £ 30million ahead of the start of last season.
A testament to the calm and calculated approach of Johan Lange and Villa Mackenzie’s chief recruiting officer, Villa was able to pay a significantly cheaper fee just months after speculation of a move across the channel, to secure a player more than able to hold out in top flight English.
Sanson’s career at Villa has yet to begin, but when it does, head coach Smith knows he can play a key role in Villa’s bid for a top-six spot on the season. next.