Aston Villa hit roadblock in Morgan Sanson deal

Reports in recent days have claimed the Premier League club are confident of landing their man after being in extensive talks with the Ligue 1 side.

However, the move seems to have hit a stumbling block over an agreeable fee for the 26-year-old.

Dean Smith’s side were touted to have offered £15m for the French international, with Sanson’s arrival at Villa Park being made possible by the loan departure of Conor Hourihane.

Now though, Marseille boss Andre Villas-Boas, once of Chelsea and Tottenham, has labelled that £15m fee a ‘very, very weak offer from Aston Villa’ – as translated by Sport Witness.

Villas-Boas was speaking to French outlet Telefoot after his side’s Ligue 1 defeat to Lens on Wednesday, a game in which Sanson played.

With 10 days to go until the closure of the transfer window, there is still time for Aston Villa to return with an improved bid – but whether they will stretch to more than the £15m originally offered remains to be seen.

Aston Villa continue Morgan Sanson chase

The midfielder has been linked with a move to Villa Park in recent days, with reports suggesting that manager Dean Smith is closing in on the capture of the French international.

It’s believed no deal has yet been agreed between the Ligue 1 club and Aston Villa but talks are ongoing around a £15m switch.

The 26-year-old has been at Marseille since 2017 after signing from Montpellier and helped guide the South-of-France club to a 2nd place finish in the French top flight last season.

Marseille boss – former Chelsea and Tottenham gaffer Andre Villas-Boas – said of Sanson recently:

“Sanson is a player who is highly rated.”

“He is a boy who interests English teams because of his characteristics, and it is possible that something could happen.”

With 23 goals in 148 appearances so far for Marseille, Sanson has been an influential player – but with 11 days remaining in the transfer window it remains to be seen whether he will be plying his trade in the Premier League come the end of the month.

Manchester City’s reserves can win the Champions League claims Marseille manager Villas-Boas

The French side are expecting to find out just how strong City’s so-called second string can be when the clubs meet at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday.

Having already secured a place in the Champions League last 16, City manager Pep Guardiola has suggested he will make wholesale changes for the Group C encounter.

Porto have already taken the runners-up spot in the pool but the game is still important for Marseille as they look to pip Olympiacos to the consolation of a Europa League place.

Villas-Boas, the former Chelsea and Tottenham manager, said: “Qualifying is not in our hands.

“Hopefully Porto will do us a favour but we know it is going to be hard against Manchester City. They have so many options, and so many top-level options as well.

“We cannot rely on Porto but we must be at our best to get a positive result because City’s ‘B’ team are strong enough to win the Champions League, I think.”

City have become regulars in the latter stages of the competition, their performances this season having seen them power through to the last 16 for an eighth successive year.

Yet winning the tournament has been elusive so far despite boasting a star-studded squad. They have just one semi-final showing to their name, in 2016, and Guardiola – a two-time winner as Barcelona boss – has overseen three consecutive quarter-final defeats.

Villas-Boas said: “The expectations have been very high for City but there will be nobody with more willingness to win it than Pep at this moment.

“Every year that they start they believe it’s going to be their year and they have the capacity and the squad, but it’s down to small details.

“In the Champions League I’m no expert. Pep is the expert, he’s won it twice as a manager.

“City have been waiting so long, and the quality they have is second to none, the options they have.”

Marseille, who are fourth in Ligue 1, lost their first four group matches – including 3-0 to City at home – but kept themselves in the Europa League picture by coming from behind to beat Olympiacos 2-1 with two Dimitri Payet penalties last week.

Burnley eyeing Marseille midfielder

That’s according to the Daily Mail, who claim the Clarets are keen on the 26-year-old.

However, Sean Dyche will face stiff competition for the Frenchman’s signature, with a host of other Premier League clubs after his services.

West Ham are said to be long-time admirers of Sanson, with the newspaper claiming Fulham and Arsenal have their eye on a move along with the Clarets.

The report claims Burnley would have to splash close to £25m to bring Sanson to Turf Moor – something which seems unlikely in the current climate despite the fact Burnley are one of the more financially sound sides in the Premier League.

It’s no secret that Burnley boss Sean Dyche has aired his frustrations with Chairman Mike Garlick over investment in the playing squad, particularly after the loss of Jeff Hendrick on a free transfer – the Ireland international has since joined Newcastle United.

However, even with Dyche’s intentions to strengthen, Marseille’s demands for a key asset may be slightly out of Burnley’s price range.