By Ricky Zililo
When Zimbabwe international Marvelous Nakamba joined English Premiership side Aston Villa at the beginning of the 2019/20 season, his move was met with jubilation by football fans back home.
It was good news for those who marvel at his marvellous style of play, especially those that tracked the player from the time he landed in Europe as a teenager when he turned professional at AS Nancy in France in 2012.
Nakamba then moved to Dutch side Vitesse in 2014 where his career blossomed before being signed by Belgian giants Club Brugge in 2017.
He spent two seasons at Club Brugge and at some stage during his Belgium stay, he reportedly courted interest from English Premiership champions Liverpool.
Well, that was what the press reported when the midfielder was still at Club Brugge.
Last year, Nakamba made a sensational switch to Aston Villa, in a move that was filled with drama.
There were reports that the player “forced” his way out of the Belgian giants by going “AWOL” when preseason resumed after learning of interest from the Birmingham club.
The Zimbabwe international arrived on a £11 million transfer fee from Belgium, and on his first interview with Aston Villa TV, he felt “marvelous” to join the club.
Joining the EPL was a dream come true for the Hwange-born footballer as he joined the elite class of legendary striker Peter Ndlovu (the first African footballer to play in the modern-day Premiership), ex-
Manchester City forward Benjani Mwaruwari and former Liverpool goalkeeper Bruce Grobelaar are some of the top Zimbabwean footballers to have played in arguably the world’s most followed league.
The Zimbabwe international won supporters’ hearts in his first games at Aston Villa, breaking Twitter polls as fans (mostly Zimbabweans) voted for him as their “Player of the match”.
No doubt Nakamba was an instant darling, getting rave reviews for his performances, especially his ability to break opposition attacks with timely tackles.
What the Zimbabwean did impressively was to maintain his positional discipline, giving cover to central defenders and allowing fellow midfielders to venture upfront as he stood guard.
However, fans and analysts felt that the Warriors’ star failed to complement his defensive prowess with offensive play.
Aston Villa are reportedly ready to ship Nakamba out, with Turkish giants Galatasaray eager to pounce.
The arrival of Ross Barkley on loan from Chelsea has further fueled speculation about the Zimbabwean star leaving.
Maybe it’s not a bad idea for Nakamba to leave Aston Villa as he has fallen down the pecking order.
The midfielder needs game time and at Galatasaray he’ll play with less pressure, something that he needs.
At Aston Villa, everyone is under pressure to deliver as their billionaire owners want to transform the club from being perennial relegation fighters to finishing in respectable positions.
Aston Villa’s owners Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens have been ranked as the fifth wealthiest Premier League club owners on the Sunday Times rich list.
Sawiris and Edens have helped turn Villa into a Premier League team since they bought the club from controversial former owner Tony Xia.
A loan move to Galatasaray will not only give Nakamba much-needed game time, but will also grant the gritty midfielder an opportunity to showcase his talent in European club competitions.
According to the Birmingham Mail, Galatasaray are angling a deadline day offer for the Zimbabwean star.
The Turks had indicated that they will sign Nakamba on condition that they get past Rangers in Thursday night’s Europa League clash, which they did.
He mustn’t sulk, but take the move to Turkey as an opportunity to rejuvinate his career.
The Warriors also need a match fit Nakamba when international games resume next month. The Chronicle