Marseille’s sporting director Pablo Longoria has admitted the Ligue 1 side have a ‘difficult’ task on their hands to replace Morgan Sanson after the midfielder signed for Aston Villa.
The 26-year-old’s move to Villa Park was confirmed on Tuesday after the two clubs agreed on a transfer fee of £14million for the former France youth international, rising to £15.5m with add-ons.
Villa were prepared for a quiet January after such a successful summer window but have remained alert to what head coach Dean Smith described as ‘good value’ deals – and with Marseille’s asking price for Sanson having previously been almost double this fee, Villa feel they have got exactly that.
Marseille will try to find a replacement for Sanson in the final days of the window but Longoria says it will not be easy.
“We will try to replace Sanson in the next few days but the winter transfer window is difficult,” he told La Provence. “If we have the opportunity to be active, we will be.”
The Champions League club’s manager, Andre Villa-Boas, was reported to be ‘fuming’ over the weekend when details of the deal were leaked and he was forced to keep Sanson out of the squad for the 3-1 defeat to Monaco.
“We have to replace him,” said Villas-Boas. “I have conveyed my opinion to the management. I hope he will be well replaced.”
Sanson arrives with bags of experience in the French top flight with Marseille and, formerly, Montpellier. He has amassed 187 Ligue 1 starts and has regularly competed in Europe with Marseille.
Speaking to Villa TV, he said: “It’s a mythical club and a big club in England. When Aston Villa called me I don’t think about it for a long time. It was the best opportunity for me and for my career. I accept the challenge directly”