Mbwana Samatta is set to sign for Fenerbahçe tomorrow, ending his nine month stay at Aston Villa.
Words: Regan Foy | @findfoy
Mbwana Samatta is set to be announced as a Fenerbahçe player tomorrow, according to Tanzanian sports journalist Maulid Kitenge.
This news comes as Samatta was left out of the squad for Aston Villa’s 1-0 win against Sheffield United on Monday, raising questions as to whether his move to the Turkish Super Lig was closer than previously thought.
The Tanzanian forward has found himself at the bottom of Aston Villa’s striking pecking order, below record signing Ollie Watkins and Keinan Davis, who recently signed a new four year deal – and presumably behind former record-signing Wesley Moraes when the Brazilian striker returns from injury.
It was Wesley’s unfortunate injury on New Year’s Day that saw Aston Villa wade into the transfer market again last season, completing the signing of the Tanzania international for just shy of £10,000,000 in a move that many fans from the African continent thought was ‘well overdue’.
Samatta had been scouted during the summer, and was linked with a move then – a move that may have made the end result a little different, as Samatta and Wesley had played alongside each-other in the Belgian Juliper League.
‘Samagoal’, as the forward was affectionately nicknamed at Genk, scored on his league debut against Bournemouth – but when tasked with leading the line alone, and paired with a poor style of football that did not benefit the striker’s abilities in the air, the January arrival struggled throughout the season – managing two goals in 16 appearances.
Granted, one of Mbwana Samatta’s goals held great importance. A diving, bullet header past Claudio Bravo in the Carabao Cup Final at Wembley that gave fans hope of some silverware.
Fenerbahçe have been linked with Samatta’s services for weeks, with a deal thought to be a season long loan with an obligation to buy once the original deal reaches its conclusion.
Rivals West Bromwich Albion were also reported to have made contact about the Tanzanian captain, but the club were not happy about sending a player to local rivals.
He has made history by playing for Aston Villa, and is the first Tanzanian player to play, and score in the Premier League. Whilst his time at the club was not what he, or fans, would have hoped – he has potentially infected an entire nation with hope and dreams of one day replicating the 27-year-old.
A move away for Mbwana makes sense for all parties. The Turkish Super Lig. generally favours forwards like Samatta, and Fenerbahçe are in need of a new main man at the helm of the pitch. Aston Villa do not require the forwards services moving forward.
It’s important to remember that the ongoing pandemic could have quite easily had an impact on Samatta’s arrival to the league. He found himself alone, locked down in a country he was not used to, and it would have been incredibly easy to lose confidence in that situation.
Best of luck for the future, Ally.