Who is Pape Matar Sarr? Analysis of touted Aston Villa transfer target

Aston Villa are reportedly interested in Metz midfielder Pape Matar Sarr this summer, as we look to bolster our midfield options ahead of next season.

Dean Smith will hope to continue to build on our progress in the last campaign, and to do that he’ll expect reinforcements to arrive in the coming months to strengthen our squad.

READ MORE: Talking tactics: Why Buendia will be a perfect fit for Smith and Aston Villa

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As per the club’s official site, we’ve confirmed that an agreement has been reached to sign Emiliano Buendia from Norwich City, which in turn will add real quality to our attack, but the midfield is arguably another area in which we can still improve.

Douglas Luiz, John McGinn, Marvelous Nakamba, Morgan Sanson and perhaps Conor Hourihane will all be vying for a starting berth when pre-season gets underway later this summer, and so there is already competition for places in that department.

Nevertheless, Villa arguably lack an enforcer in the heart of the team to offer us more steeliness and physical presence, and so that could be the next priority in the transfer market.

So, would Sarr address that issue if he were to arrive at Villa Park this summer?

Pape Matar Sarr analysis, scouting profile

As per RMC Sport, Sarr has emerged as a potential target for Villa as it’s suggested that we hold an interest in him, although other European clubs are also said to be keen while he could command a transfer fee above €25m.

In turn, at this early stage, it remains to be seen if our pursuit becomes more serious, as ultimately for now it sounds as though we may well just be monitoring the situation having shown some interest.

Nevertheless, the 18-year-old defensive midfielder impressed this past season, making 26 appearances across all competitions while chipping in with four goals.

Further, he made his international debut for Senegal earlier this year, and so to make his breakthrough at senior level so early in his career tells a story in itself about the talent and potential that he possesses as he appears to have a bright future ahead of him for club and country.

As seen in the video below, he can certainly strike the ball from distance to offer a goal threat, but despite his relatively slim frame, his physicality and the fluid movement on and off the ball makes him a classy operator in the heart of the midfield as he glides around the pitch with ease and can evidently stamp his mark on games.

Composed on the ball and a good distributor, he can keep possession ticking as well as switching play to the opposite flank quickly, while he isn’t afraid to get stuck in with his defensive work and thus breaks up play well, much to the frustration of the opposition.

At 18 years of age, Sarr is still very raw. Given the fee being touted and his lack of experience at the top level in England, it’s going to be a gamble if Villa decide to splash out to sign him this summer.

That said, he is clearly a big talent with a major future ahead of him if he can continue to improve and develop his game, and so it will be down to the Villa scouting group and management to decide whether or not he’s worth the price-tag and in turn is pushed to the top of the transfer shortlist to bolster our midfield moving forward.