Who is Morgan Sanson? Things to know about Marseille's star midfielder

Tom Gott
Morgan Sanson is a wanted man
Morgan Sanson is a wanted man / Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Premier League teams are on the hunt for reinforcements, and it seems as though plenty of clubs have set their sights set on Marseille midfielder Morgan Sanson.

The Frenchman has long attracted interest from English teams including Aston Villa and Arsenal, but as he approaches the final year of his contract, there are rumours that we could finally be about to see Sanson in England.

Here's everything you need to know about him.

1. He's late to live up to his wonderkid status

A young Sanson in action for Le Mans
A young Sanson in action for Le Mans / JEAN FRANCOIS MONIER/Getty Images

When Sanson broke through at Le Mans as an 18-year-old, it seemed as though he had the world at his feet. He seemed destined to become a superstar.

Links to the Premier League and some of Europe's top clubs emerged between 2012 and 2014, when Sanson was billed as one of the game's brightest youngsters, but things slowed down somewhat.

Four years at Montpellier didn't bring the kind of progression most expected but, at 26, Sanson has got things back on track at Marseille.

2. He had to fight back after a nasty injury

Injuries slowed Sanson down
Injuries slowed Sanson down / PASCAL GUYOT/Getty Images

It's no surprise that Sanson went a little quiet for a season or two during his time at Montpellier as he actually had to recover from a nasty cruciate ligament in 2015.

He went down in April and didn't make it back until November, only to pick up a fresh knee injury in January 2016 which kept him sidelined for another two months.

He admits that beefing up and learning how to cope with the physicality of Ligue 1 was a real struggle for him, but it's safe to say that he's made it through to the other side now.

3. He does a bit of everything

Sanson is more comfortable in midfield
Sanson is more comfortable in midfield / John Berry/Getty Images

Sanson's recent resurgence can largely be attributed to the fact he's actually figured out what kind of player he is.

During his time with Montpellier, Sanson was deployed all over the midfield, playing in deep, attacking and wide roles when needed. Thanks to his versatile skill set, he did everything pretty well, but he's now getting the chance to play in his favoured position in central midfield.

"I would say I'm an 8, a player who likes to throw himself forward, but also recover the ball to raise cleanly, in the heart of the pitch," he told Foot Mercato.

4. His playstyle is fun to watch

In his preferred position, Sanson gets to showcase all of his skills, but his bread-and-butter is starting counters.

With outstanding stamina, Sanson loves pressing opponents and is incredibly reliable in the tackle, but the fun really starts once he's got the ball back.

You'll regularly see Sanson pick himself up from a successful challenge and instantly look forward, and he's never afraid to use his passing range to kick-start a counter. Defence to attack in a heartbeat.

5. He's in no rush to leave Marseille

Sanson admits Villas-Boas helped him stay at Marseille
Sanson admits Villas-Boas helped him stay at Marseille / Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Sanson openly admits that the arrival of Andre Villas-Boas at Marseille last summer is the reason he is still at the French club, and he's in no urgent rush to leave now.

His agent told 20 Minutes: “For Morgan, his priority is Marseille. But he continues to be willing to listen to offers, so long as they are adequately in line with his sporting ambitions. Morgan has been approached a lot, but he will not leave if from a football perspective, what is being offered is not better than at Marseille. His aim is not to earn more money, but to improve in his football.”

He's currently loving life at a side in the hunt for Champions League football, so it might take something special to lure him away.

6. He's intrigued by a move to England

Sanson might not be rushing towards the exit door at Marseille, but he's admitted in the past that he would listen to any offers from the Premier League.

"What I like is the enthusiasm around this league," he told So Foot. "The stadiums are full at all matches. They eat and sleep football.

"It's not the only league that attracts me, but there is a big overall quality, so yes, it attracts me."

7. He's got a lot of different idols

Sanson enjoyed watching Kaka & Ronaldinho
Sanson enjoyed watching Kaka & Ronaldinho / Alex Livesey/Getty Images

For someone with Sanson's versatility, it should come as no surprise to hear that the midfielder modelled his game off a handful of different players.

"As a kid, I was a fan of Kaka and Ronaldinho," he said. "I tried to be inspired by them, the same for [Andres] Iniesta afterwards."

In other interviews, he's also named Wayne Rooney and Luka Modric as another two of his inspirations, so it's not hard to see where his do-it-all style of play has come from.

8. He has a weird relationship with Nike

Earlier in his career, Sanson used to exclusively wear Nike boots, but the summer of 2018 saw him switch to Puma as he felt Nike's footwear wasn't protective enough for a player in his position.

"For a very long time, I had a heel problem that was triggered while I was playing in Nike Tiempo and that's why comfort in the heel is so important to me," he told Foot Pack. "I then switched to the Magista but the problem never really disappeared.

"Since the start of the season with Puma, I haven't felt this pain anymore, which is a big positive for me. Beyond all the marketing aspects that I like about Puma, they mainly convinced me with the product which is essential to me as a professional player."

9. And a weird history with PSG

Sanson has been accused of being a closet PSG fan
Sanson has been accused of being a closet PSG fan / Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

Sanson's move to Marseille wasn't exactly met positively as a handful of tweets emerged suggesting that the midfielder was actually a fan of arch rivals PSG.

He was even spotted in a PSG shirt, but he has repeatedly insisted that he has never supported the French side.

Sanson told La Provence: “Marseille supporters can wonder. But I have never been a lover of Paris or a supporter of PSG. Many things that have been said are false."


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