Aston Villa have shown in recent months that they are not averse to raiding fellow Premier League clubs for players such as Lucas Digne and Calum Chambers, nor to signing players who have had previous spells with sides in the English top flight such as former Liverpool star Philippe Coutinho.
In addition to these recruitment strategies, the Midlands club have also shown that they are capable of scouting and signing players from other top clubs across Europe, such as Morgan Sanson from Marseille in January 2021 for £16m.
However, as happens with all clubs, not every transfer ends up being a successful one straight away.
Looking at Sanson since his arrival at Villa Park, things haven’t worked out particularly well for the midfielder, having made just 17 appearances across all competitions as a result of injury and illness issues, as well as a lack of consistent form on the pitch.
The Frenchman simply hasn’t done enough whenever he has been given the chance to impress, posting a lowly WhoScored seasonal rating of 6.33. For context, only two current members of Steven Gerrard’s squad have a lower rating, which sums up just how shockingly ineffective Sanson has been.
With the summer transfer window approaching, this could provide the Villans with a chance to cash in on the 27-year-old flop if they feel he isn’t worth keeping around any longer.
If this were to be the case, it could give Johan Lange the opportunity to bring in a midfielder who, like Coutinho, has had previous experience of playing in the Premier League.
Former Newcastle United and Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum, who joined Paris Saint-Germain last summer, has recently been linked with a move to Villa Park, and he could be an ideal replacement for Sanson if the latter is moved out at the end of the current campaign.
With a total of 217 Premier League appearances under his belt, the Dutchman would presumably have no issue with getting into the rhythm of the English top flight once again, something with which the Frenchman has arguably struggled since his arrival in the Midlands.
Also, having won the Premier League and Champions League with Liverpool, the £22.5m-rated midfielder knows what it takes to be successful, which could make him a crucial figure in Villa’s dressing room and out on the pitch.
Labelled a “complete” player by his PSG manager Mauricio Pochettino, Wijnaldum should very much be in Lange’s thinking when the transfer window opens to see if he would be willing to make a return to England and do his bit for Gerrard’s side.