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Aston Villa would profit from two little-known French midfielders

Remy Cabella, Clement Grenier and Blaise Matuidi are three of the more high-profile French midfielders being linked with moves to the Premier League, but there are some less recognisable prospects that could prove equally as effective.

Aston Villa are one team where some added creativity would not go amiss, as they seem to have eased away from the passing and possession-based football that was on show in the latter part of last season, in particular.

Much of their best work is often done on the counter attack, but some extra creativity in the final third would offer a different approach against opposition that are organised in defence and get numbers behind the ball.

Villa have scored the fewest goals on their own patch this season, troubling the scorers only six times in their seven home outings.

Paul Lambert showed last January a keen eye for a hidden gem in the French market, when recruiting Yacouba Sylla from Clermont Foot. Last season, Sylla only lost on two of his 11 Villa appearances, which was key to the Villans avoiding relegation.

Villa have only lost two of the eight games this season that Sylla has featured in too.

A return to the French market this January could be productive again, especially if Villa are to justify odds of 7/4 to finish in the top half of the Premier League.

Two players Lambert may do well to consider this time are Romain Hamouma and Younousse Sankhare, who are proving quietly productive at mid-table Ligue 1 clubs.

Teenage defender Kurt Zouma is the St Etienne player being most linked with a Premier League switch, but right midfielder Hamouma is another worthy of greater attention.

Houmama has taken the chance impressively to step into the shoes vacated by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after his transfer to Borussia Dortmund, leading St Etienne’s scoring charts with six goals.

He is also a keen dribbler that leads the St Etienne stats for key passes and assists.

The other midfielder Sankhere is impressing at Guingamp, where he has profited from the move of Giannelli Imbula to Marseille.

Sankhere is more at home on the left and is another that likes to dribble, who additionally is capable of breaking at pace with an array of stepovers.

He has created the most chances at Guingamp this season, as they sit ninth in the league after promotion from the French second tier.