Why Norwich City should try to win the race for Mbwana Samatta in January
According to The Guardian, Norwich City are among a host of Premier League clubs weighing up a move for Genk hitman Mbwana Samatta, who has a modest release clause of just €10 million in his current contract that expires in 2021.
Premier League rivals Brighton and Crystal Palace are also in the race to complete a deal for the 27-year-old Tanzanian international, who has been a real revelation since his move to Belgian heavyweights Genk from Congolese club TP Mazembe back in 2016. (h/t Guardian)
As per the report, German side Eintracht Frankfurt and Italian outfit Lazio are also on the trail of the prolific striker, although it is understood that Samatta would prefer a move to the Premier League, given that it is widely followed in his homeland.
Samatta, who finished as the Belgian league’s top-scorer with 20 goals in 28 games last season and fired Genk to the domestic title, has proven his worth in the group stages of the UEFA Champions League this term, scoring thrice in 6 appearances, including a goal in a 2-1 defeat against Liverpool.
The Tanzanian has racked up an impressive tally of 76 goals and 20 assists in 191 appearances for Genk across all competitions so far, with 14 of those strikes coming in the Europa League, both qualifying and final rounds combined.
Meanwhile, Norwich City currently find themselves locked in a relegation battle in the bottom half of the Premier League standings after an unimpressive run of form in the first half of the season.
Having lost 13 and won only 3 of their 21 games so far, it is not a surprise to see the Canaries languishing rock-bottom of the standings, and Daniel Farke’s side would require a herculean effort during the second half of the campaign to pull themselves out of the mess.
After a lacklustre summer window following their promotion to the Premier League, Norwich have been ripped apart by injuries to several of their key players, with Farke struggling more often than not to field his best eleven on the pitch.
Lack of goals has often proven to be the major reason behind the undoing of promoted teams in the Premier League and Norwich seem to be heading that way after scoring only 22 goals so far. As a matter of fact, 9 of those goals have been scored by Teemu Pukki, the man who racked up 29 goals in the Championship last season to fire Norwich to promotion.
Todd Cantwell has been the other key contributor with 6 goals so far while Emiliano Buendia has also impressed with as many as 7 assists, despite failing to find the net even once in the Premier League.
To that end, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that Norwich have largely relied on the likes of Pukki, Buendia and Cantwell for goal contributions, with the other players in the squad just not doing enough to prove their worth.
The likes of Onel Hernandez, Josip Drmic and Dennis Srbeny have all struggled to make an impact in the Premier League and Norwich City will surely need to improve on their lacklustre goal tally during the second half of the season if they are to harbour hopes of preserving their status as a top-flight club.
To put things into perspective, Norwich’s lack of financial muscle in the Premier League has been well-documented and someone like Mbwana Samatta could well be an affordable option for the Canaries during the mid-season trading period.
With Drmic failing to make an impression, the Canaries need to bring in another striker in January to reduce the burden on top-scorer Pukki, and Samatta’s prolific record in Belgium suggests that he could possibly make an immediate impact with goals to steer Norwich to safety in the Premier League.
The 27-year-old’s success at Genk hardly guarantees the same at Carrow Road, taking into account the obvious difference in quality between the two leagues in question. However, the fact that the Tanzanian has proven his mettle against quality opposition on the European front means that he is certainly worth a punt for the relegation-threatened Canaries.
Plus, it is worth reminding that the Belgian top-flight has proven to be a reliable source of talents for the Premier League clubs over the years, with the likes of Christian Benteke, Romelu Lukaku, Wilfried Ndidi and Marouane Fellaini amongst those to have made a big impression in English football.
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All in all, Norwich City triggering the Tanzanian’s thrifty release clause could be a make-or-break factor in their bid for Premier League survival.