While Aston Villa are busy looking for reinforcements this summer, January-recruit Morgan Sanson will be hoping to step up next season to offer us a big boost too.
The 26-year-old arrived from Marseille earlier this year, but through a combination of injury woes, competition for places and a steady adaptation to English football, he made just nine appearances in the second half of the campaign.
A knee injury forced him to miss the last nine Premier League games, and so he’ll be hoping to fully recover from that ahead of reporting for pre-season duty with the rest of the squad in early July.
While Sanson will still face a difficult challenge to break into the side, Dean Smith and the Villa squad will hope to see him find his feet and flourish as he could hand us a huge boost in a department where we need more.
Pre-season vital, settled and happy Sanson is an asset
Ultimately though, the priority for now is that he fully recovers over the break and is in good condition when he returns for pre-season training.
Having had time to settle in England and adapt off the pitch, it’s vital that he’s healthy and free of injury heading into preparations for the new campaign as pre-season will be pivotal in his push to prove his class and make his point as to why he should be in the side when the season gets underway.
If he can train well, gets plenty of minutes in his legs over the course of the pre-season schedule while building understanding with his teammates, it will set him up perfectly for a successful year.
After Emiliano Buendia’s arrival, Smith has plenty of options in attack both out wide and through the middle to support our main striker, and so Sanson will likely have to drop back slightly into a deeper midfield role to play often.
That in turn pits him against the likes of McGinn and Luiz for a starting berth, and so it won’t be easy for him to displace that pair given how important they’ve been to Smith.
Nevertheless, as we try to compete at a high level across the entire campaign and with domestic cup competitions to consider too, Sanson will have opportunities, and it’s hoped that we get to see the class from the Frenchman that we know he possesses as he looks to now prove his quality in the Premier League.