Burnley have begun transfer talks with a French midfielder who has drawn comparisons with two-time Premier League winner N’Golo Kante.
The Daily Mail reported that the Clarets have held talks with Ligue 1 side Angers over a move for Baptiste Santamaria, who is valued in the region of £12m and has drawn comparisons with his fellow countryman at Chelsea.
As per Daily Mail, Aston Villa had targeted the 25-year-old earlier this year, with Leicester and Everton also having their attention piqued by the midfielder.
Santamaria has been a mainstay of Angers’ first XI for the last four years, racking up 146 appearances for the club, with 134 of those coming in the French top flight. He started all 28 of their Ligue 1 games last season before the league was curtailed amid the global pandemic, scoring once and providing one assist (as per TransferMarkt).
Kante’s ball-winning abilities as a midfield anchor have been lauded by the likes of Eden Hazard and Sir Alex Ferguson, and Santamaria also stands out for his knack of breaking up opposition attacks. He won 3.3 tackles per game in Ligue 1 last season and even that was only a slight improvement from 3.1 the previous campaign, along with averaging 1.6 interceptions per game in 2019/20 (as per WhoScored).
To put that in context, nobody at Burnley last term had a higher tackling average than 2.4 per game, while only two men (both defenders) had a better interceptions average than the Angers midfielder (as per WhoScored). The 25-year-old is no slouch when he gets the ball, either, with his passing success rate of 81.5% bettered only by Josh Brownhill (82.5%) among Sean Dyche’s squad.
The Clarets were linked with another tough-tackling midfielder in recent days in Huddersfield’s Lewis O’Brien, whose match averages of 3.2 successful tackles and 1.2 interceptions are impressive yet slightly below Santamaria’s level. However, the Terriers man often plays in an advanced midfield role, in contrast to the Frenchman’s position at the base of midfield.
Santamaria’s statistics certainly suggest that he would make Burnley’s midfield a sturdier unit and one which will not be bypassed easily by opposing teams. Also, at 25, the Frenchman boasts plenty of top division experience and yet is only set to come into the peak years of his career now.
Are you excited by the potential signing of Baptiste Santamaria?
Just as Kante was plucked from Caen by Leicester five years ago, Burnley could yet pull off their own left-field raid on Ligue 1 if they can complete a deal for Angers’ no-nonsense midfielder.
Burnley fans, do you think Santamaria would be a good addition at Turf Moor for £12m? Comment below with your views!
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