Premier League newcomers Aston Villa reportedly bid £9million for Angers’ Ligue 1 enforcer Baptiste Santamaria.
Angers lost their star player on Wednesday.
After weeks of speculation, France U21 star and former Arsenal youngster Jeff Reine-Adelaide swapped The Scooters for Lyon in a £23 million deal, according to One Football. Fortunately for Angers, however, Reine-Adelaide’s midfield partner Baptiste Santamaria is staying put for now.
Speaking to L’Equipe, club president Olivier Pikeu has admitted that he turned down an offer from big-spending Aston Villa, who apparently made a bid of £9 million for the much-admired 24-year-old over the summer (RMC).
Yet if Santamaria was a little distracted by the incessant speculation surrounding his future, he didn’t show it as Angers got their new Ligue 1 campaign underway with an impressive 3-1 triumph over Bordeaux.
Reine-Adelaide bid farewell with a goal and an assist in a display full of class and quality but Santamaria, as he so often does, provided the platform for the one-time Arsene Wenger favourite to strut his stuff.
In 90 minutes on the pitch, Santamaria completed four tackles and four interceptions to stop Bordeaux from building any sort of pressure through the middle of the park.
No one on the pitch could match these statistics with the Frenchman producing a typically tireless display to remind everyone why Aston Villa were so keen to bring him across the channel.
In John McGinn, Douglas Luiz, Conor Hourihane and Marvelous Nakamba, central midfield is hardly a position of weakness for Aston Villa but Santamaria is the sort of player any club needs, particularly one looking to survive their first season back in the big time.