Marseille boss Andre Villas-Boas has taken aim at Aston Villa over their “pathetic” January bid for midfielder Morgan Sanson.
The 26-year-old is wanted by the Villans as they look to replace Conor Hourihane following his loan move to Swansea City.
The likes of Tottenham, Arsenal and West Ham have also been credited with an interest in Sanson, who has made 10 Ligue 1 appearances this season, scoring twice.
And that trio’s hopes of securing the Frenchman’s signature ahead of Villa have been boosted by scathing comments from Villas-Boas.
Speaking to Telefoot Chaine on Wednesday evening, he said: “We had a very, very weak offer from Aston Villa which we turned down. It was pathetic.
“I hope that he [Sanson] continues to remain professional.”
Marseille currently sit sixth in Ligue 1, four points shy of fourth-placed Monaco but with a game in hand on their rivals for Champions League qualification.
Keen not to weaken their squad during that chase, the French club have reportedly put a £20m asking price on Sanson.
Signed for £8m from Montpellier in 2017, Sanson has racked up over 150 appearances for Marseille, scoring 25 goals and laying on 21 assists.
This season, he is averaging 3.3 tackles and interceptions per 90 minutes in Ligue 1 – more than Douglas Luiz’s 2.6 in the Premier League.
He has also created more big chances (4) than John McGinn (3).