Aston Villa

Aston Villa

Premier League • England

Aston Villa transfers: ‘Very interested’ suitors give Emery perfect chance to offload puzzling signing

Unai Emery of Aston Villa

Unai Emery manages Aston Villa

Aston Villa have been handed a brilliant opportunity to get rid of a strange signing, with one club reportedly ‘very interested’ in taking him off Unai Emery’s hands.

Villa had an eventful 2022-23 campaign as they started poorly under Steven Gerrard but then excelled when managed by his replacement, Emery. The Villans did extremely well to finish seventh in the Premier League, which means they will compete in next season’s Europa Conference League.

Emery wants Villa to go far in that competition while also pushing for a top six finish in the Prem. As such, Villa are expected to make some ambitious signings this summer.

They have already pulled off a transfer coup by landing Youri Tielemans on a free transfer from Leicester City. The Belgian has previously been linked with Arsenal and Liverpool but has instead gone to Villa Park on a four-year contract.

Villa are hoping to follow that signing up with the capture of Villarreal and Spain centre-back Pau Torres. The 26-year-old has long been of interest to Manchester United, but on June 30 it emerged Villa had agreed a deal with Villarreal for him. They will pay an initial €35million (£30m), plus a further €5m (£4.2m) in potential add-ons.

While Torres will soon arrive at the West Midlands club, midfielder Morgan Sanson could depart. Villa spent £14m when signing the French midfielder from Marseille in January 2021.

However, Sanson has never truly impressed in a Villa shirt and was therefore loaned out to Strasbourg for the second half of last season.

Sanson is now back at Villa, but he could soon be offered a way out of the club. As per French newspaper L’Equipe, the former France U21 international impressed Strasbourg chiefs during his time there and they are resultantly trying to re-sign him.

Aston Villa player eyed by two clubs

Unfortunately for Strasbourg, they are not alone in the transfer hunt. Ligue 1 rivals Lille have just joined the chase and are ‘very interested’ in Sanson.

Lille will soon begin talks with Villa over a season-long loan which includes an option to buy next summer. This will give Sanson 12 months to impress the Lille hierarchy before they potentially spend a decent transfer fee on him.

It will be interesting to see which French side Sanson ends up at this summer. Strasbourg have more money than Lille after Chelsea’s owners bought a majority stake in the club last month.

But the player will surely favour a transfer to Lille. That is because they finished fifth in Ligue 1 last term, whereas Strasbourg only managed 15th. Lille will also compete in the Europa Conference League next term. It is not the best tournament in Europe, but it is still better than no European competition at all.

Emery will be very happy if Villa can get Sanson off their books. He has never made an impact in a Villa shirt and is now quite low in the pecking order. The likes of John McGinn, Douglas Luiz, Tielemans, Jacob Ramsey and Boubacar Kamara are ahead of him, while Leander Dendoncker will also be allowed to leave.

Meanwhile, Villa and West Ham could both miss out on a relegated star after Newcastle surged into pole position for him, according to a report.