Opta Stats reveal that only Nice left-back Jordan Amavi has been involved in more duels than the 589 experienced by Montpellier’s Morgan Sanson this season.
At a time when France appear to have an embarrassment of riches setting pulses racing in their late teens and early 20s, Sanson is one that has slithered under the radar more than most.
This was always going to be a tricky season for Montpellier and some may have been doubtful about their French top-flight future after only escaping the drop by two points in the last campaign and then losing pivotal pair Remy Cabella and Benjamin Stambouli to the Premier League over the summer.
Yet seventh place now looks certain and it has been the growth of 20-year-old Sanson that has been a key contributor to their rise.
His versatility in playing anywhere across the midfield is one of his strongest assets, while he also looks equally at home in a deeper position where he is able pick passes and orchestrate play or as a more attack-minded option where he can attempt to take the opposition on.
It is in the latter role where he has been most widely seen this season, tasked with the role of replacing Cabella following his move to Newcastle.
Cabella may have had a limited impact at St James’ Park, but his 14 goals last season for Montpellier were always going to be tough to replace.
When the pair were at the club together, Sanson was utilised a little deeper, alongside Stambouli in a 4-2-3-1 set-up before he was snapped up by Mauricio Pochettino at Tottenham.
Sanson’s performances earned him a nomination for Ligue 1’s young player of the year and Montpellier will be bracing themselves for another summer attempting to retain their better players.
PSG and Lyon are two clubs that have already been linked, while Premier League interest is sure to develop too.
If Newcastle can avoid Premier League relegation on the final day, a summer move for Sanson would be advisable, especially if Cabella could be used to promote the club.
The fact that Sanson is being touted as a possible replacement for Yohan Cabaye at PSG should only whet the appetite of Toon supporters further, given Newcastle have never really replaced their former midfielder.
Based on the betting, Newcastle have little chance of securing Sanson’s services this summer. It is 20/1 that they sign him before the closing of the summer transfer window.
However, given the likelihood of greater opportunities of first-team football at Newcastle, the switch shouldn’t be totally ruled out.
Other prices for Sanson’s club on September 2nd are Arsenal and Lyon both at 3/1, PSG 6/1 and Tottenham at 9/1. The one word of caution though is that the youngster is expected to be out until October because of a cruciate ligament injury.