Villa sign Frenchman Sanson from Marseille

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Ligue 1 - Olympique de Marseille v Amiens SC

(Reuters) - Aston Villa have signed midfielder Morgan Sanson from French Ligue 1 side Olympique de Marseille on a 4-1/2 year deal for an undisclosed fee, the Premier League club said on Tuesday.

The 26-year-old, who played for Le Mans and Montpellier before joining Marseille in 2017, helped them reach the Europa League final in 2018 and a runner-up finish in the French top flight last season.

"It's a magical club, a big club in England. When Aston Villa called me, I didn't have to think about it for a long time – it was the best opportunity for me and my career," Sanson said in a statement.

"I love the team; I love the spirit – I'm a warrior and I like it when all the players run for the team and run for the club. I appreciate watching Villa because it's good football."

British media said Villa had paid around 14 million pounds ($19.22 million) for the versatile Frenchman who has made more than 150 appearances in all competitions for Marseille.

"Morgan has performed consistently at the highest level in French football for a number of seasons as well as in this season's Champions League," Villa manager Dean Smith said.

"(He's) a player with the quality and experience to play in any midfield position. He will add real competition for starting places and gives us more squad depth which is vital to competing successfully in the Premier League."

Villa, who are eighth in the league with 29 points from 17 games, travel to Burnley on Wednesday.

($1 = 0.7285 pounds)

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)