Go for it Smith – Aston Villa must solidify their midfield by signing this outstanding 23-year-old Ligue 1 powerhouse

Why Aston Villa should go ahead with the signing of Baptiste Santamaria

According to French news outlet Le10, Aston Villa are keeping close tabs on Angers defensive midfielder Baptiste Santamaria and the Lions might table a bid in January to land the 23-year-old.

The same report claims that Villa are likely to face stiff competition from the likes of Bordeaux, Strasbourg and Saint-Etienne who are also interested in securing Santamaria’s services.

An exponent of Tours’ youth system, Santamaria made his move to Ligue 1 outfit Angers back in 2016 and has been a regular name on the team sheet since then. Santamaria has made 3 appearances for France at the U20 level.

Standing at just a shade over 6ft, Santamaria has a decent height for a central defensive midfielder. He has a decent technique, which allows him to run comfortably with the ball at his feet. However, the most impressive thing about him is his range of passing.

The Frenchman has an impressive range of passing, both short and long, which allows him to dictate the proceedings in the midfield. He has got a good understanding of the game in the middle of the park and likes to set the tempo of the proceedings with his immaculate distribution.

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Santamaria averages 36.6 passes per game with an accuracy of 78.5%, including 3.5 successful long balls per game. As evident from the figures, the Frenchman does not hesitate to play the ball off the ground too often to set up attacks from a deep position in the midfield.

In the defensive side of his game, the Frenchman has equally impressive numbers. He is quite sharp and agile for a defensive midfielder, averaging 2.1 tackles, 1.1 interceptions and 1.5 clearances per game in the Ligue 1 this term.

To put things into perspective, he would be a good option for Aston Villa to bolster their squad depth given that their susceptibility at the back has been one of the major causes of their demise this season.

It would be difficult to say that Santamaria would be an upgrade on any of Aston Villa’s existing first-team midfielders. Conor Hourihane has registered 2 goals and 6 assists with a pass success of 87.8% while John McGinn boasts of equally impressive figures, having accumulated 2 goals and 4 assists so far.

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To be honest, Santamaria’s lack of direct involvement in goals can certainly be considered a red flag for a modern-day defensive midfielder.  

However, it must be noted that Hourihane has struggled with his positioning, and his lack of defensive awareness has cost the team dear at times. Santamaria might not directly fit into the first-team but he would definitely be a handy player to have on the bench.

Read More: Aston Villa signing this 30-year-old West Ham outcast would be an absolute steal and Smith must do it

That said, Aston Villa should go ahead with this transfer as the Frenchman might play a role in stemming the flow of goals by playing as a shield for the porous rearguard. Villa have conceded goals at an alarming rate this season and Santamaria might finally be the answer to their woes.

Written by Sayan Chatterjee

A Premier League enthusiast and an avid follower of the beautiful game... keen eye for tactical battles and love to discuss the financial aspects of football...other hobbies include reading, listening to music, playing FIFA on PlayStation, traveling, etc.
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