Aston Villa have completed the signing of midfielder Morgan Sanson for an initial fee of £14 million from Ligue 1 side Marseille. The former Arsenal, Tottenham and West Ham target is expected to become Dean Smith’s first – and probably last – signing in the January transfer window. The 26-year-old has penned a four-and-a-half-year contract.
Marseille initially demanded £22 million for the Frenchman, but the collapse of the French football’s TV deal has forced them to lower the value, which the Premier League club took advantage of. Aston Villa managed to free up their wage bill after loaning Conor Hourihane, Lovre Kalinic and Tyreik Wright earlier this month.
Sanson, joined Marseille from Montpellier in January 2017 and has made 120 appearances for the Ligue 1 club, and helped them finish runners-up to PSG last season, scoring five goals and providing five assists. He has also played 11 times for France U21s earlier in his career.
Dean Smith said: “Morgan has performed consistently at the highest level in French football for a number of seasons as well as in this season’s Champions League, and is a player with the quality and experience to play in any midfield position. He will add real competition for starting places and gives us more squad depth which is vital to competing successfully in the Premier League.”
Sanson, an attacking-minded midfielder, has played in the advanced midfield position in a 4-3-3 for Marseille this season and has worn the No 8 shirt since joining the club in January 2017.
Aston Villa are currently 8th in the Premier League table with 29 points from 17 matches, and they will be able to break into the top four if they manage to win their three matches in hand. Villa are overly reliant on Jack Grealish for creativity, and Sanson could share that burden with the England international.