According to RMC Sport, LOSC Lille have entered the chase to sign Aston Villa target Baptiste Santamaria. The SCO Angers midfielder has been identified as the ideal replacement for Lyon bound Thiago Mendes, but the French club could face stiff competition from both Villa and Lazio.
The newly promoted Aston Villa, in particular, are keen on strengthening the midfield department and could make a move for this highly talented midfielder this summer.
Santamaria’s excellent spell at Angers
A product of the Tours youth academy, Santamaria has been a part of the Angers side since 2016. And following his move from Tours, he quickly became a vital cog of the Angers midfield, notably making 37 league appearances in his debut campaign.
Since then, he has featured in 116 matches for the French outfit across all competitions, 38 of which came in the recently concluded 2018/19 Ligue 1 campaign. The 24-year-old was one of the ever-present figures in the Angers midfield, featuring in over 3,000 minutes of league football. He scored just one goal, but his overall contribution in midfield helped Les Scoistes finish 13th in the league table.
What can Santamaria bring to the table?
A defensive midfielder by trade, Santamaria is known for his ability to win back possession for his team. He completed a whopping 3.1 tackles per game with a success rate of 67%. He also averaged 1.6 interceptions per game, which is indicative of his ability to read the game.
Santamaria is certainly not one of the most effective passers in the league, but he is capable of threading in diagonal balls. However, it is his defensive work-rate that makes him such a competent defensive midfielder and one of the most sought-after players in the French top flight.
Should Aston Villa make a move for Santamaria?
Santamaria will be an excellent piece of investment for Aston Villa as Dean Smith looks to bolster his midfield options this summer. The Frenchman will provide more competition to the likes of Conor Hourihane and John McGinn while his defensive work rate means he can offer protection to the backline.
The 24-year-old also has a vast amount of experience in French top flight, which could help him integrate to the fast-paced nature of the Premier League. But, it remains to be seen whether or not Aston Villa will be able to secure his services, especially with Lille seemingly keen on making a move this summer.
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