Aston Villa complete £16m signing of Marseille’s Morgan Sanson

Morgan Sanson has completed his move to Aston Villa from Marseille for £16m, the French midfielder signing a contract until 2025.

The 26-year-old, who is expected to compete with Ross Barkley and John McGinn for a starting place, said: “I’m very excited to play with my new teammates. I have watched the team very intensely since we talked with the club.

“I love the team; I love the spirit – I’m a warrior and I like it when all the players run for the team and run for the club. I appreciate watching Villa because it’s good football. I hope the best for the club. I think we have a very good team.”

Sanson emerged as Villa’s top target this month after the manager, Dean Smith, allowed Conor Hourihane to join Swansea on loan. Sanson was left out of Marseille’s squad that lost to Monaco at the weekend and the Marseille manager, André Villas-Boas, confirmed the former France Under-21 international had been omitted because he was “not in the right mind to play” after being informed that Villa’s offer had been accepted.

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Sanson arrived in the UK on Tuesday to complete his move after he was granted a governing body endorsement by the Football Association, having made more than 150 appearances for Marseille since signing from Montpellier in 2017, including playing in this season’s Champions League group stages.

Smith said: “Morgan has performed consistently at the highest level in French football for a number of seasons as well as in this season’s Champions League, and is a player with the quality and experience to play in any midfield position. He will add real competition for starting places and gives us more squad depth, which is vital to competing successfully in the Premier League.”