Aston Villa

Aston Villa have “taken advantage” of the financial crisis in French football to sign Morgan Sanson from Marseille.

That is according to finance expert and new Football Insider columnist Kieran Maguire, speaking exclusively after Villa sealed a £14million deal for the box-to-box midfielder last Tuesday.

The 26-year-old was targeted by Arsenal, Tottenham and West Ham in the summer, with The Athletic claiming the player was rated at around £30m at that point.

But French football has entered an economic tailspin since then, with the Ligue 1 Mediapro-BeIN TV deal collapsing in December, leaving clubs over £1billion out of pocket.

That has forced French clubs into a “fire sale” situation, says Maguire, one which Villa have been wise to capitalise on by signing Sanson at a cut-price.

He told Football Insider: “It represents good decisions being made upstairs at Aston Villa. They’re looking to the medium-term here.

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“Also, they are fully taking advantage of the collapse of French football because the TV deal has failed. The French clubs have had to borrow from the government. But it is borrowing rather than being given grants.

“There is a danger of some French clubs going out of business, so they are in a fire sale situation. You can pick up bargains from these situations, and that’s what Villa have done.”

Sanson has signed a four-and-a-half-year deal, committing him to Villa until June 2026.

John McGinn and Douglas Luiz have established themselves as Dean Smith’s first-choice midfielder partnership and Villa fans will be hoping the highly-rated Sanson can muscle his way into contention.

In other news, a former Villa Park hero has praised an “outstanding” defender for his performance against Burnley on Wednesday evening.