By Gabriel Agbonlahor

20th Jan, 2021 | 12:08pm

'If Smith's buying him...' - Exclusive: Agbonlahor reacts to big Villa update via BBC

Gabriel Agbonlahor has claimed Aston Villa transfer target Morgan Sanson will add some much-needed competition for places if he completes a move.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, Villa’s record Premier League striker delivered his verdict after the BBC revealed the Midlands giants are in negotiations with Marseille over the 26-year-old in a potential £15million deal.

Transfer expert Fabrizio Romano reports Villa are confident of concluding a deal in the coming days.

Sanson, a former France Under-21 international, is at his best as a box-to-box midfielder but is also to operate in an advanced role.

Asked by Football Insider for his verdict on Sanson moving to Villa Park after the BBC update, Agbonlahor said: “There are a lot of people who are excited by him and they’ve not even see him play.

“But I’m sure Dean Smith if he’s buying him, will have watched him a lot and know a lot about him.

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“It just adds competition for places. You look at that midfield at the moment, you can’t really see anyone getting into it. If everyone is fit at the moment, Barkley will start so this new guy will have a lot to do to get into the starting team.

“That’s what you want – competition for places. So if someone is having an off game, there are options on the bench. That’s what Villa have probably struggled with in recent years. When you look at the bench you want to see a top striker, a top midfielder and a top winger who can come on.

“Villa might be looking at the future as well. You don’t know what is going to happen with players. They’re looking at the future and going ‘Let’s get him in now, while he’s available.’”

In other news, Football Insider can reveal a transfer has collapsed after a U-turn from an Aston Villa player.