Aston Villa in talks over Marseille midfielder Morgan Sanson

Villa are in talks with Marseille over a deal for midfielder Morgan Sanson.

Villa boss Dean Smith may add to his squad.
Villa boss Dean Smith may add to his squad.

The highly-rated 26-year-old has been linked with several Premier League clubs and was the subject of a rejected £25million bid from West Ham last summer.

But with only 18 months remaining on his contract the French club are more open to selling and Villa are hoping to negotiate a fee below £20m.

The club have taken a pragmatic approach to their business this month and are under no pressure to enter the market.

But with Conor Hourihane expected to depart on loan they believe Sanson, a former France under-21 international, represents a shrewd investment.

Villa travel to Manchester City on Wednesday with boss Dean Smith insisting his players are mentally and physically ready to restart their season.

The match is Villa’s first in the Premier League since New Year’s Day and Smith may be missing some players, due to the coronavirus outbreak which forced their training ground to close for 10 days.

Nine players tested positive for Covid-19, while those self-isolating only returned to training on Sunday.

Smith told Villa TV: “I’m not worried. I believe in the players and their mentality that they will be ready for this game.

“I think all clubs have been hit in some way. Manchester City have had players affected.

“All clubs are having to adapt and we are no different. Players have a lot of belief from what they have already done this season.”

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