The very latest transfer news concerning Aston Villa . . .
Mbwana Samatta’s B6 career could be cut short with a number of links away from Villa Park emerging.
Whilst the first ever Tanzanian Premier League player arrived with decent goalscoring stats from the Belgian top flight, he has struggled to replicate goals or performances that led to his switch. Indeed, Samatta has found the net just twice with Villa in desperate need of an in-form striker as the club slid into a relegation dogfight following the resumption of the league.
Turkish giants Fenerbahce and Galatasaray have been reported to be interested in taking Samatta off Dean Smith’s hands.
With the recent glut of games, supporters have had the opportunity to analyse and scrutinise Samatta’s contribution to a Villa side where each player has their part to play. It has not made for easy viewing.
Tellingly, Keinan Davis, a product of Villa’s academy system has emerged as the player who looks most effective leading the line. Davis’ ability to hold the ball up, good close control and ability to bring others into the game stands in contrast to the isolated Samatta.
Whilst playing as a lone striker is an often thankless task, the former Genk striker has been almost anonymous. It also says a great deal that Davis, himself with a mere 2 senior goals to his name, is viewed as the more dangerous of the pair.
The stats also don’t make for easy reading. Samatta’s last and only shot on target in the league was during Villa’s 2-1 away defeat at Bournemouth. That was on the first day of February, in a side that outside of the top five in the division has created the most chances. This now translates into well over 700 minutes of Premier League football without registering a single occasion that an opposition goalkeeper has been forced to make a save.
Samatta was signed for an eye-watering £8.5 million pounds and has four years left on his current Villa deal. Yikes.
Grealish’s post match interview against Arsenal saw him asked directly about his future. Instead of skipping over the question, Jack could only respond with some emotion in his voice:
‘Erm, I’m not too sure at the moment.
You know, I have one aim and that’s to keep this club in the Premier League.’
With his voice breaking as he spoke, it became clear that unless something remarkable happens, Grealish is more than likely plying his trade away from Villa Park next season.
There has been near constant speculation linking Grealish with a move, moreso recently as Villa lurched perilously closer to relegation. We have seen links to both Manchester United and Manchester City, following widespread reports of the player househunting in the area.
The midfielder does court wider interest, particularly as both Manchester sides continue to pursue talent across the transfer market. Whilst Grealish is obviously Villa’s marquee player, it’s yet to be seen whether he will be directly targeted by a club amongst the elite sides within the current footballing order.
On the periphery are sides like Spurs, who find themselves in the tier below clubs such as United and City. This is the type of team where Grealish might not have any higher chance of silverware, but would conceivably get the game-time he might not be afforded at Old Trafford or The Etihad. A big money move has it’s attractions undoubtedly, but Grealish has long craved representing England, something that is rarely achieved without being a first team regular.
The only real curveball in the Grealish saga is Villa’s survival in the Premier League and what clout our owners can reasonably offer him in terms of reassurance. Parking the issue of Grealish’s ambition away from Villa Park, could Sawiras and Edens tempt the current club captain with the lure of being the central figure to a second season rebuild?
It has been well documented that Villa found themselves a year ahead of their promotion plan, causing significant upheavel as a number of loan deals expired and senior pros retired or left the club.
This resulted in an enforced £140 million splurge in the transfer market, with Villa restricted in terms of transfer options to sourcing players after existing Premier League sides had taken their pick. Further, there is the fact that from these remaining targets remained only those players who could reasonably be persuaded to join a newly promoted side which inevitably was going to be in both transition and consolidation.
If Villa’s owners can demonstrate their intent, assuming Premier League status is retained, might there be a surprise on the cards that few might have predicted?
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