Aston Villa could have their Gueye replacement if they sign Santamaria

This article is part of Football FanCast’s Transfer Focus series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent transfer news…

According to RMC Sport, Aston Villa have positioned themselves to sign midfielder Baptiste Santamaria from Angers.

What’s the word?

Aston Villa look to be in the market for a holding midfield player this summer, having already targeted Leeds’ Kalvin Phillips and Club Brugge’s Marvelous Nakamba.

After the releases of Glenn Whelan and Mile Jedinak it certainly makes sense.

However, the latest player to catch their eye is Frenchman Santamaria. The 24-year-old currently plays in Ligue 1 and according to RMC Sport, Villa have positioned themselves to sign him.

Per the same report, Lazio and Lille have also shown an interest.

Gueye replacement finally on the cards

The last time Villa were in the Premier League they had one of the best holding players in the division in Idrissa Gueye, who went on to leave the club for Everton in summer 2016.

He made a remarkable 4.1 tackles per game across 35 matches but the Villans were still relegated.

The Senegalese was absolutely vital but he ended up departing to Everton as Villa were left powerless in terms of stopping him.

And since losing the 29-year-old, they arguably haven’t replaced the hole he left behind.

By landing Santamaria, though, they could finally discover a player who’s capable of having a similar impact.

Why? Because of his ability to break up the play.

In Ligue 1 last term, he won 3.1 tackles per match, proving himself to be a fabulous player in front of the back four, winning tackles on an all too regular basis.

In total, he attempted 4.6 challenges per game, completing 118 tackles in 38 appearances.

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Villa didn’t necessarily need someone as tough-tackling as Gueye in the Championship because they had more of the ball.

But as they gear up for their first season back in the Premier League, having someone who can make a challenge in front of the defence will be essential.

Gueye proved in 2015/16 how important it is even if they were relegated with him in the side.

Santamaria, therefore, would be a clever addition.

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