Aston Villa Opinion: Mbwana Samatta could be a marquee signing for the Lions this summer
According to The Sun, Aston Villa are interested in signing Genk’s Tanzanian international forward Mbwana Samatta in the summer transfer window, with reports claiming that the 26-year-old is keen to complete a move to the Premier League.
The Sun understands Villa are likely to face stiff competition from Premier League sides Leicester City, Burnley and Watford in their pursuit of the £12 million-rated prolific striker, whilst continental giants AS Roma and Lyon are also keen on securing Samatta’s services.
Samatta helped Belgian heavyweights Genk clinch the domestic league title this season, scoring 32 goals in 51 appearances across all competitions. His goalscoring heroics earned him the Ebony Shoe- an award presented to the best player of African origin in Belgium.
The 26-year-old was also instrumental in Tanzania’s qualification to the African Cup of Nations for the first time since 1980 and he will be expected to lead the line for his nation in Africa’s elite tournament this summer. Samatta rose to prominence with Congolese club TP Mazembe before making his move to Europe with Genk back in January 2016.
Samatta hasn’t looked back since then and has carved out a reputation for himself as one of the most prolific strikers outside the top five European leagues, accumulating an impressive 66 goals and 18 assists in 163 appearances for Genk in all competitions.
The Tanzanian’s links with the Premier League clubs, as well as Champions League regulars Roma and Lyon, is a clear testament to his rising popularity in European football.
A fast and agile centre-forward with good physical attributes, Samatta excels with his ability to run at defenders at dribble at pace- using his flair and sharpness to ride past challenges and hold off defenders.
A truly two-footed striker, the Tanzanian is noted for his natural finishing and poaching instincts inside the box, as well as his intelligent movement, raw power and aerial prowess, making him a lethal presence in front of goal.
To put things into perspective, it is not difficult to see why Aston Villa have lined up Mbwana Samatta as a potential target in the summer transfer window. Dean Smith needs to bring in a few fresh faces to build a formidable Premier League quality unit and Samatta’s arrival could possibly prove the Lions with that much-needed firepower up front.
Chelsea starlet Tammy Abraham propelled Villa to promotion via the Championship playoffs with a 26-goal season but he is now back at his parent club and the Lions are likely to be priced out of a permanent move for the 1-cap England international.
They have Jonathan Kodjia as a useful option up front but he is not the sort of player that Villa should be banking on in the Premier League next season, meaning Samatta’s arrival could solve a lot of problems for the Lions.
The Tanzanian has shown a lot of promise at Genk, and while his success in the Belgian top-flight hardly guarantees the same in the Premier League, Villa have every reason to hope that he can make the step up successfully in due course of time.
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There is always an element of risk involved in signing players from the lesser leagues in Europe but Samatta looks like a real talent and Villa could have a gem on their hands if they manage to beat off competition for the 26-year-old.
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