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Samatta’s fate illustrates Nakamba’s success

The English Premiership is a brutal world and, just eight months after joining Aston Villa, Tanzania international forward, Mbwana Samatta, has now been offloaded to Turkey.

Marvelous Nakamba and Mbwana Samatta
Marvelous Nakamba and Mbwana Samatta

The quick divorce also shows that Zimbabwe international midfielder, Marvelous Nakamba, has done very well to remain at the Birmingham club for more than a year.

Nakamba’s critics, the majority of whom are found among his countrymen and women, argue that the midfielder has not provided the fireworks, at a consistent level, to justify the buzz which followed his move to the EPL.

Last month, it emerged that, for all the criticism Nakamba has faced, he finished among the top five ball-winning midfielders in the English Premiership last season.

Only Declan Rice, Phillip Billing, N’Golo Kante and Wilfred Ndidi did better than the Zimbabwean, among the players who played, at least, 1 500 minutes.

That was revealed by defensive data collected by the authoritative sources at “Breaking The Lines,’’ who looked at each player in the EPL.

“He didn’t score important goals, he wasn’t a regular starter post-lockdown, and he wasn’t involved in many critical moments,’’ the analysis read.

“He’s been linked to a few moves away — but do Villa really want to see the back of Nakamba?

“Was it a bad season for Nakamba then?

“By no means.

“The tough-tackling midfielder emerged as an early star during the tough first portion of the season and even earned a spot on some highlight reels thanks to a crunching challenge in the League Cup final against Manchester City.

“He’s rather unique in this Villa side as well.

“The early stages of the season saw Nakamba singled out as a top performer and crucial to the side.

“According to Statsbomb, Villa had given ‘Nakamba a thankless job, and he’s doing it admirably.’

“With Dean Smith admittedly going ‘gung ho’ — Villa’s defence was exposed and Nakamba flourished in doing his best to fight fires.

“Villa didn’t always win, or draw, but Nakamba did a good job, what was that job, to sit back and break up play.’’

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While Nakamba remains at Villa, at least for now, the club used a brief, brutal 16-word statement to announce the departure of striker Samatta to Fenerbahce.

The Tanzanian only arrived in January, tasked with replacing the injured Wesley and firing Dean Smith’s side to Premier League survival.

The Birmingham club wrote: “Ally Samatta has joined Turkish side Fenerbahce. We would like to wish Ally all the best.”

Some Villa fans online were quick to point out the lack of effort put into sending off their striker.

One sarcastically wrote: “Amazing send-off lads”.

While another pointed out: “Shortest post in the world”.

A third joked: “A great read”.

Samatta was an unused substitute as Villa beat Burton Albion 3-1 in the League Cup second round earlier this season.

He failed to make the matchday squad for their league opener against Sheffield United.

Samatta will initially join the Turkish side on loan before completing a four-year deal at the end of the season.

He became the first Tanzanian to score in the Premier League when he netted on his debut in the competition against Bournemouth but his only other strike for the West Midlands club came in a 2-1 defeat to Manchester City in the Carabao Cup final on March 1.

Samatta has not featured so far this season for Villa, with the additions of Ollie Watkins for a club-record £28m and Bertrand Traore for £19m underlining his place in the pecking order.

The 27-year-old ended his time in England with two goals in 16 games and had been offered to rivals West Bromwich Albion earlier this month before ultimately making the move to Fenerbahce.

The Istanbul club finished seventh last season — their worst league campaigns since 1987/88.

Their squad includes former West Ham United forward Enner Valencia and ex-Bayern Munich midfielder Luiz Gustavo.

Villa are still looking to add players on loan themselves, with Chelsea’s Ross Barkley and Ruben Loftus-Cheek among those they are keen on.

Loftus-Cheek was left out of Chelsea’s squad to face Barnsley on Wednesday, but talks with Villa are at a very early stage, with other clubs also interested if he is allowed to leave.

Despite being off-loaded in brutal fashion, Nakamba still had time to thank Villa for giving him a chance to play in the English Premiership.

“I wish to thank Aston Villa for giving me the opportunity to fulfil my dream of playing in the Premier League,’’ he wrote on Twitter.

“A special thanks to all Villans for the amazing support you gave me during my time at the club.

“I wish you all the best of luck for the rest of the season.’’ The Herald