Smith coy over Marseille interest; admits Aston Villa man wants out

Dean Smith

Aston Villa boss Dean Smith was tight-lipped when asked about reports the club are interested in Marseille midfielder Morgan Sanson.

Telefoot journalist Julien Maynard claimed Smith was looking to bring Sanson to Villa Park in January. The Villans have been watching the 26-year-old for some time and have reportedly been impressed by what they have seen.

The former France Under-21 ace has made nine starts from 11 Ligue 1 outings, scoring twice for L’OM.

But asked about the player on Tuesday, ahead of Wednesday’s trip to Man City, Smith wasn’t giving much away.

“There’s a lot of players I like. I won’t name check a player from another club,” he said.

“I’ve always said that this will be a quiet window for us. We are already planning for the summer window but we will never turn our noses down to a good deal.”

The Villa boss did admit that Conor Hourihane wants to move, despite Smith telling him he wanted him to stay.

Smith added: “There’s a possibility of some outs too [this month]. I’d like Conor Hourihane to stay but he’s come to see me a few times saying he wants to go out and play games.

“We will look at the possibility of clubs. It will be a loan until the end of the season.”

TEAMtalk exclusively revealed on Saturday that Boro and the Swansea were keen and Villa are willing to let him leave. He was a regular in the team during Villa’s spell in the Championship.



Man City preparations

Smith will have some of his squad missing against City due to Coronavirus.

“Obviously I’ve got some players who’ve contracted Coronavirus and I’ve got to check whether they’re fully fit or not,” said Smith.

“I don’t think we’ll be hamstrung by it at all. We’ll have a few players who’ve been affected by it, but we’ve also got a lot of players who’ve had a so-called winter break.

“Some of our players needed the rest, players like Jack Grealish and John McGinn who’ve been regularly away on international duty. Hopefully it’ll do them the world of good and we can come back fresh and firing.”

“We’ll have had a three day build-up for the Manchester City game. The first day was almost like the kids’ first day back in the playground and they were full of energy and enthusiasm.

“It was good to see them back on the grass again. They looked really bright, so I’m hopeful for a bright return.

“I’m not going to make any excuses for the issues. My players are ready to play against Manchester City.

“We’ve had a small build-up to this game because of the Coronavirus outbreak at the football club, but it’s a chance to go and test ourselves again.”