Why fringe Villa ace could now flourish under Emery

As Unai Emery prepares for his first game in charge of Aston Villa, could we see the return of an almost forgotten face under his management?

The Spaniard will no doubt start with a clean slate, open the door for all those involved in the senior squad and give them a chance to make an impression on him and earn their place in the Villa starting XI.

READ MORE: Emery outlines his Villa ambition, objectives with awareness of immediate challenges

With depth and competition right across the squad, there promises to be some fierce battles to get to the top of the pecking order, but one player who has struggled under our last two managers could finally now not only find himself back in contention but also emerge as a really good fit for the new coach.

Time for Sanson to fulfil potential under Emery

Despite joining Villa in January 2021, Morgan Sanson has made just 20 appearances for the club and totalled 655 minutes of football.

The 28-year-old has been plagued by injury problems, but competition has made it increasingly difficult for him to get a chance despite making a largely positive impression whenever he has been involved.

From being fancied by former Villa boss Steven Gerrard at one stage, he found himself mostly on the bench and even completely out of the matchday squad at times, and that unsurprisingly led to speculation over his future at Villa and question marks over his application in training given his inability to make a breakthrough.

Fortunately, we got through that in the summer and he remained at the club, and that could prove to be a blessing in disguise as we now hope he gets a chance to shine under Emery.

As per The Telegraph, Emery is said to know – and rate – Sanson from his time working in France at Paris Saint-Germain while the midfielder was still at Marseille, and so that in itself is a positive sign that he could now finally utilise him properly and allow him to showcase his quality.

Beyond that mere hope though is the sense that Sanson is a great fit for the style of play and identity that Emery will want to implement at Villa. With his technical quality on the ball coupled with an aggressive and tenacious side to him out of possession, Sanson can offer composure, accurate and quick passing into the final third from midfield while also pressing higher up the pitch and providing physicality and energy defensively.

His attributes and strengths really match up well with what we expect from an Emery side, and while he faces competition from Douglas Luiz and Boubacar Kamara among others in that midfield double pivot if the Villa boss goes with a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-4-2, there is real belief and hope that Sanson could be seen as a more prominent figure now.

Time will tell if he’s done enough in training this week to build on that reported view Emery has on him having crossed paths in France, as ultimately that will be the key test and not what he did over three years ago.

As per Emery in his press conference on Friday, Kamara is closing in on being back in contention after recovering from a knee injury, and there is intrigue over the idea of teaming him up with his former Marseille teammate and giving them the opportunity to solidify our midfield and offer a classier presence.

Douglas Luiz, Leander Dendoncker and John McGinn will have something to say about that, but it’s truly hoped Sanson has delivered in front of Emery’s watchful eyes this week to convince him that he’s someone that could be a pillar in the new Villa manager’s side.