Aston Villa manager Unai Emery has confirmed that he has told midfielders Marvelous Nakamba and Morgan Sanson to seek a move away from the club during the January transfer window. The Villans are backing Emery to make changes to the team he inherited from Steven Gerrard, but his desire to sign at least one more midfielder has left Nakamba and Sanson with uncertain roles.
Emery, who took over as manager in November, has not played Nakamba for a single second in any competition this season. The 29-year-old has also only featured on the bench in one Premier League fixture since Emery took charge. Sanson, similarly, has struggled to see much match time so far this season. The 28-year-old has played just nine minutes in the Premier League over two appearances and has not played before Emery took charge.
“We are speaking about how we can improve,” Emery said in a statement. “Some players like Nakamba, I told him to leave. Sanson, as well, is in the possibility to leave but Sanson, for me, is a very good player. He understands very good how we want to play and he has the skill to do it. But he has to play in a team to be consistent, trying to play more and here, it’s difficult to give him it. He is, as well, finding something to leave.”
The Villans boss had already admitted that Sanson was free to seek a move away from the club. But Emery has now also added Nakamba, who Gerrard called ‘outstanding’, to the list of players who are free to leave as Aston Villa strive to back him in the transfer market.
It is worth noting that Dean Smith paid Marseille £16m to sign Sanson on a four-and-a-half-year contract in 2021, and he also paid Club Brugge £11m to see Aston Villa sign Nakamba on a five-year deal back in 2019.
Emery further added that if Nakamba and Sanson leave, the club may try to add one more player in the midfield, but it is not clear about this possibility, as he wants to sign a player who can improve the quality of the squad.
The January transfer window is now open, and it remains to be seen where Nakamba and Sanson will end up. With Aston Villa currently sitting in sixth place in the Premier League, Emery will be looking to strengthen his squad as they push for a top-four finish this season.