Aston Villa played an absolute blinder with their deal to sign Morgan Sanson in the January transfer window.
Dean Smith’s side made just the one major addition to their ranks with the capture of Marseille midfielder Morgan Sanson, and though he has played just 10 minutes of Premier League football for the club, he already seems like he could have the potential to be extremely good value for money.
That’s because a report from France Football claims that Villa actually only paid around €11m (£9.6m) up front, with another €4m (£3.5m) to come in the summer and then a further €3m (£2.6m) locked in bonuses that will only be paid if Sanson does well at the Premier League club.
The report adds that the bonuses “depend on the Frenchman’s performances and various qualifications for the English club”.
Given the financial problems that football clubs all around the world are facing, pulling off shrewd deals that tie into a much more limited budget will be the ultimate test of a sporting director’s work at a club.
And for Villa’s deal to sign Sanson, it surely falls into the category of a masterclass from Johan Lange. By paying such a minimum amount now, it gives some breathing room for Villa’s finances to take that end of season boost once they know what their league finish will be – the Premier League has an incremental style system where the higher you finish, the more you receive.
Given how Smith’s side have performed thus far – they’re flying high in ninth at the moment but are just five points off fourth with two games in hand – then Villa look set for a real windfall come the summer.
Add to that Lange also negotiated part of the transfer fee to Marseille as bonuses means that Villa find themselves in a win-win situation with the 5 foot 11 Sanson. If he doesn’t turn out to be the kind of game-changing signing that Smith will be hoping for, then they won’t have to pay out that extra bit of cash. If he does, then he’ll have been worth every penny and the Midlands club will be more than happy to pay for it.
It’s the kind of smartly constructed financial deal that the likes of Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens will be absolutely delighted with. They’ve got a tightly operated ship, and Lange’s manning the sails with a sense of poise.