Morgan Sanson looked set to depart Marseille at the start of the 2019/20 season. However, the France international saw his and the club's fortunes turn around following the appointment of Andre Villas-Boas as manager.
Marseille eventually finished second to Paris Saint-Germain in a curtailed Ligue 1 campaign last season. They also secured qualification to the Champions League for the first time in seven years.
With Marseille already out of Europe this season, at least three English clubs are looking to sign the French international. The London clubs, in particular, seem to be very keen on getting Morgan Sanson's signature.
Tottenham attempted to woo Sanson last year before eventually landing Tanguy Ndombele. Arsenal and West Ham have now joined the race to sign the player. So exactly do these English clubs see in Sanson?
At 26, Morgan Sanson seems to have hit his prime under Villas-Boas. Deployed as a creative midfielder in a 3-man diamond, he has shown great cunning and vision to play through balls to Dario Benedetto - a constant feature of Marseille's game.
Competition with another versatile team-mate Valentin Rongier seems to have brought the best out of Sanson in Marseille. He has responded well to Villas-Boas' tactics and has played both as a regular and a substitute when required.
Sanson is a street-wise player, something which Villas-Boas admires. His deployment as a substitute in several games last season was indicative of a specific strategy implemented by Marseille. His ability to draw fouls, stop transitions, and drop deep, especially against attacking teams, has made him an important player in the team.
This season, Morgan Sanson has already made nine starts in 12 league outings and four starts in the Champions League group stages. The player seems to have evolved into a leader in midfield for Marseille.
With youngsters like Boubacar Kamara and Papa Gueye often featuring as a part of the 3-man midfield, Sanson often has the added responsibility of covering for his teammates.
Sanson was also responsible for two important wins for Marseille this season, where he scored the winning goals. Both those wins - against Strasbourg and Nimes Olympique - came after bad defeats in the Champions League. His ability to rise to the occasion was crucial in keeping Marseille in the title hunt.
It is no wonder Premier League clubs find Morgan Sanson an attractive prospect.
Another advantage that Sanson's suitors have is that the player is in the final year of his contract. Marseille, just like the other French clubs, face financial limitations following the termination of the Ligue 1 broadcasting contract by Spanish giants MediaPro.
The club are also dealing with Financial Fair Play sanctions, which put massive constraints on their net spend. With funds dwindling, they are likely to offload some of their players on high wages, including Sanson.Published 22 Dec 2020, 17:13 IST