Aston Villa are reportedly set to part ways with midfielder Morgan Sanson this January, with French outfit Montpellier favourites to clinch a loan move for the out-of-sorts ace…
What’s the word?
Sanson has failed to stake his claim to a spot in the Villa set-up since signing from Marseille for £16m in 2021, and has now been granted a prospective departure from the Premier League outfit, with prominent French outlet L’Equipe stating in the last 24 hours that Montpellier are indeed circling on a swoop.
And with persistent lingering rumours surrounding the Claret and Blues’ interest in Juventus maestro Weston McKennie, a man who could cost around €30m (£26m), a momentous upgrade to the central engine could take place at Villa Park in the coming weeks.
Manager Unai Emery is far from done with his transfer activity this winter, coupled with the impending departure of Sanson, a midfield signing certainly appears to be forthcoming, and McKennie could well be the man.
McKennie is a big upgrade
Given the current state of play within Villa Park, there is an evident onus on bolstering the squad with as much quality as possible, with Emery’s distinguished pedigree – the Spaniard is a four-time winner of the Europa League – in mind, the ambitions of the Villa hierarchy seem to reflect the managerial desires.
McKennie would signify a step in the right direction, with the 41-cap USMNT international a regular presence in a Juventus side that are exhibiting telling signs of resurgence after a fall from grace across the past few years, having failed to clinch the Italian Serie A on the past two occasions after dominating the division for the past decade.
Having made 93 appearances for the Old Lady, scoring 13 goals and supplying four assists, the 24-year-old is a combative and forward-thinking midfielder that would bring a wealth of European experience and tenacity that would emanate across the Villan ranks.
As per FBref, the “monster“, as once dubbed by journalist Wes Rucker, ranks within the top 9% of midfielders over the past year in Europe’s top five leagues for rate of goals, the top 8% for touches in the opposing penalty area and the top 11% for progressive passes received.
This is a clear trend of offensive prowess, something Emery will lick his lips over when considering the impact this will have on his side’s collective frontal force.
And with Sanson only playing two matches this term, and indeed just 12 last season, his departure would allow an immense upgrade to enter the fold, should the right player be targeted; McKennie is that man.
By contrast, the French outcast ranks below the American, even when afforded regular minutes. Cast your mind back to the 2020/21 Ligue 1 campaign and he ranks in the top 16% for goals, the top 40% for touches in the offensive penalty box and the best 34% for progressive passes received. Thus, it’s clear to see there is a lack of an attacking nature to his game.
Villa simply must swoop for McKennie; the interest in the Old Lady midfielder has been steadily mounting, and with Sanson’s departure, the door swings wide open.