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Villa are known for their interest in French players.

French outlet Le 10 Sport claim Aston Villa scouts have identified Nimes Olympique winger Sada Thioub and Angers SCO holding midfielder Baptiste Santamaria as targets ahead of the January transfer window.

Dean Smith is likely to make his mark on the Villa side in the January transfer window, which will be his first opportunity to bring new players to Villa Park since moving to the Midlands from Brentford.

Speedy winger Thioub helped Nimes gain promotion to the top tier of French football last season and has proved crucial in helping the newly-promoted side defy expectations this season – as Nimes sit in a lofty eighth place.

Meanwhile, Santamaria has impressed at the base of Amiens midfield, featuring in all 16 Ligue 1 games so far this season and attracting the interest of bigger French clubs Saint-Etienne, Bordeaux and Strasbourg.

Villa are renowned for looking to France as a scouting pool, with the likes of Jordan Veretout, Idrissa Gueye, Jordan Amavi and more joining the club in recent years. Anwar El Ghazi joined the club on loan from Lille this

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