By Jonty Banks

21st Mar, 2023 | 10:00am

Aston Villa loanee Morgan Sanson can test Jacob Ramsey for starting spot after 'indispensable' form at Strasbourg

Morgan Sanson never quite settled into life in an Aston Villa shirt, but he could still test Unai Emery’s resolve in the summer after an impressive run of form while on loan at French club Strasbourg.

The 28-year-old has featured eight times since completing his January switch to the Ligue 1 side, picking up two assists and being named as one of the best signings of the winter window by L’Equipe.

Sanson drew a rave review from the French publication, who labelled the midfielder as indispensable and essential to Strasbourg since his arrival mid-way through the season.

The question that remains is whether this renewed form will be enough to buy his future at Villa Park under Emery – but when comparing his stats to Villa midfielder Jacob Ramsey, the answer is a definitive yes.

With the Villa boss reportedly readying a war chest for the summer transfer window and added depth in the midfield likely to be on his shopping list, Sanson has a fight on his hands to force his way back into the Spaniard’s plans.

However, if Sanson were to return, he would be unlikely to start in the middle of the park due to Boubacar Kamara and Douglas Luiz’s blossoming partnership, so a wider role may be the only viable option going forward.

With John McGinn donning the armband on the right-hand side, his major competition might come in the form of Ramsey, who netted his third goal of the season in the 3-0 win against Bournemouth last Saturday (18 March)

The former Marseille player, who only featured three times at Aston Villa before securing his loan deal, has actually outperformed Ramsey in several departments offensively.

Since his January move, Sanson has recorded 1.9 shots per game compared to Ramsey’s average of 0.7, while Sanson matches the Villa academy graduate with 1 key pass per game. [WhoScored].

What is also interesting to note is the 0.8 successful dribbles that Sanson has completed at Strasbourg – a figure which trumps Ramsey’s 0.5.

The Englishman’s ability to coast past defenders when in possession of the ball is regarded as one of his best traits, so the fact Sanson is recording more dribbles per game will undoubtedly leave Emery with food for thought.

However, the one major stumbling point for the Strasbourg loanee is his pass completion rate and lack of progressive passes recorded.

According to the Opta-powered stats on FBREF, over the last year, Sanson is in the 7th percentile for passes attempted and the 18th percentile for pass completion rate (76.5%).

The lack of willingness to get on the ball and the underwhelming clarity of thought when looking for passes will be a major area of concern for Emery when analysing Sanson’s loan spell to date.

However, if the Frenchman can tidy up his passing in the coming months, he could be a useful option to challenge Ramsey with on the left side of Emery’s midfield next season.

In other Aston Villa news, Danny Mills has been proven wrong about defender Tyrone Mings after his transformation under Emery.