Aston Villa have been handed a major blow before their Premier League clash against Manchester City on Wednesday night, with news that Morgan Sanson is set to miss out once again.
The Frenchman was taken off in Villa’s game against Fulham, and he subsequently missed the 2-1 defeat to Liverpool last week.
And now, speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of the game against Pep Guardiola’s side, Dean Smith confirmed: “Morgan Sanson’s got a knee injury as well. He’s still feeling it so we’re not too sure how long he’ll be out.”
The £16.2m-rated midfielder only joined the club back in the January transfer window from Marseille, and has only slowly been eased to life in the Premier League, playing just 291 minutes of top-flight football.
Speaking after his signing, Smith waxed lyrical about the kind of qualities the Frenchman could bring, saying: “He has got a big game mentality, he has played at the top of the French league for the last five years, played in the Champions League.
“He is a great technician and has great tactical awareness. He can play in a number of positions, can set up goals and can score goals. He has a bit of everything in his game so we’re really pleased with the acquisition.”
Dubbed as a “warrior” by himself, Sanson showed his qualities as a really effective box-to-box presence in his time at Marseille.
Before his move to the Midlands, he averaged an impressive 1.8 tackles and 1.1 key passes per game in Ligue 1, both of which ranked him favourably compared to the rest of Villa’s squad. In fact, only two other players have averaged more tackles per match than him, while again, only two other have averaged more key passes too.
News that he will once again be missing for a crucial Premier League game in Villa’s quest to finish in a European spot for this season, will come as a big blow to Smith. And, the fact the manager has admitted that there is uncertainly over “how long he’ll be out” for, makes it an even bigger pill to swallow.