Ranking Aston Villa's best players of African descent - from Benteke to Gestede
(Photo credit should read JASPER JACOBS/AFP via Getty Images)

The Tanzania captain will be Villa's 22nd player to represent the club from African birth and the third Villa have signed this season, after Marvelous Nakamba and Trezeguet joined in the summer.

Villa spent over £130 million in the summer but have since since little reward in the price they payed for eleven new recruits after gaining promotion back to the Premier League. As Dean Smith's side finds themselves within the relegation places, January recruitment will give Villa a fighting chance.

After key injuries to Wesley, Tom Heaton and John McGinn in recent months, Smith's Villa have won just two of their last nine in the Premier League.

Samatta's introduction to English football isn't a first for Villa. Here's the ten best players of African descent to wear claret and blue.

10). Hassan Kachloul


An unknown quantity for many Villa fans, and perhaps that’s still the case but to avoid the likes of Eric Djemba Djemba and Moustapha Salifou, Hassan Kachloul makes it in the top ten Aston Villa plays to have been born in Africa.

Although the Moroccan was raised in Agadir, 300 miles of Moroccan capital Rabat, Kachloul spent his early playing days in Belleville in France before moving between French clubs Nimes Olympique and FC Metz who loaned him elsewhere in the homeland of former Villans Chrles N’Zogbia, Jordan Amavi and Johnathan Kodjia who all also share African descent.

At his own request, Kachloul left Metz out of contract before joining English top flight side Southampton in October 1998, under Dave Jones. He remained at The Dell for another two years until John Gregory acquired the Morrocan’s services at Villa Park in June 2001. A move to the West Midlands was however marred in controversy as it was verbally agreed that Kachloul would join then Premier League rivals Ipswich Town, but George Burley lost what he deemed a crucalil signing to Villa at the eleventh hour.

Under Gregory, Kachloul enjoyed a spell of over 20 games as he cemented himself in a Villa squad that won the 2001 UEFA Intertoto Cup. He scored twice for the club in 22 appearances but failed to make the same impression on Graham Taylor or David O’Leary in seasons to come.

The midfielder left Villa in July 2004 to link up with Wolves for a five month loan but after injury and illness, Kachloul’s Premier League career was cut short before it ever really bagan, and now works as a property developer.

9). Jordan Ayew


Signed from FC Loreint on a five-year deal for a reported £8 million, Jordan Ayew split the opinion of many Villa fans despite ending the 2015-16 season as the clubs highest goalscorer.

Perhaps this personal accolade was slightly tarnished due to the teams performance in a campaign that was the worst in recent history for a club that was a Premier League ever-present until only 17 points were amassed in Villa’s relegation season in 2016.

In that season, Ayew managed to score seven goals in the 27 Premier League starts he made under Tim Sherwood, Remi Garde and Eric Black. Two more managers tried to get the most out of the Ghanian but Roberto Di Matteo and Steve Bruce would eventually hand over Ayew to then Premier league strugglers Swansea City. In 17 Championship starts for Villa, Ayew managed six goal contributions.

8). Rudy Gestede


It takes an unodrianey player to take a cult hero status from a season of doom and gloom but Benin born Rudy Gestede managed to write his name in folklore for Villa fans who will remember one particular goal the 6 ft 3 striker scored.

A single goal over second city rivals Birmingham City was the moment Villa needed in the midst of the worst season they had seen at Villa Park for some time. His header on the 62nd minute sent the Holte End and Tim Sherwood into pandemonium to provide Villa fans with a brief moment of elation before relegation loomed.

Gestede was signed from Blackburn for a £6 million fee. He scored on his debut as Villa got their only away win of the whole season at the Vitality Stadium on the Premier League’s opening day in 2015. Gestede also scored a brace as Villa lost 3-2 at Anfield later in the same season.

7). Albert Adomah


Albert Adomah was used in a part trade for Adama Traore as Tony Pulis swapped one winger for another. Whilst Traore was raw and young, Adomah was an experienced Championship campaigner and effective player for Steve Bruce.

Adomah made a steady impact at Villa in their opening Championship season as he made several assists for Johnathan Kodjia, his partner in crime.

During the 2017-18 season, Adomah scored 15 goals to finish as the club's top scorer in a season Villa would reach the play-off semi final after beating his old club Middlesbrough over two legs but a Wembley loss to Fulham meant another season in the second division for Villa.

He was released by the club at the end of the 2018–19 season having failed to nail down a regular starting place under Dean Smith. Adomah will always be welcome at Villa Park for his enthusiasm and general love for the Villa, not just his fabled goal against Birmingham City at Villa Park when Villa beat their second city rivals for the second season in a row at home.

6). Johnathan Kodjia


Kodj, Jimmy Danger, however its spelt, Johnthan Kodjia was a maverick in his own way. Having matched  Peter Withe's long standing record of nineteen plus goals in a season for Villa in his first season, Kodjia couldn't stop scoring in a team that was built around the Ivorian.

For an initial fee of £11 million, Kodjia signed from Bristol City on a four-year contract. Rising to £15 million, Kodjia proved his worth after scoring on his debut against Brentford - a fine solo effort as he  found the top corner with his left foot after a mazy run.

Kodjia scored six goals in Bruce's first seven games in charge and his form helped propel Villa from the relegation zone up to 11th within Bruce's first month at the club. Kodjia's performances won him the PFA Championship player of the month for November before he broke his ankle in April 2017 which prematurely ended his season.

Kodja injured his ankle again in the derby match against Birmingham City in October 2017 which was further aggravated on international duty with Ivory Coast. His return to injury came in Villa's play-off final defeat to Fulham but his limited impact meant Villa came up short before eventually selling promotion a year later. Kodjia scored nine goals last season before recently joining Qatari side Al Gharafa.

5). Karim El Ahmadi


On July 2 2012, Karim El Ahmadi completed his transfer from Feyenoord to Aston Villa for an undisclosed fee believed to be around £2,000,000. The Morrocan was brought in by Paul Lambert as the Scot's first signing at Villa.

El Ahmadi, then 27, played a major role in Feyenoord's second-place finish in last season's Eredivisie, which earned the club a place in the Champions League, but the lure of the Premier League was too much for the midfielder. Two weeks after signing for the club, El Ahmadi won a man of the match award at the Pirelli Stadium in a pre-season game which got Villa fans wanting to see more of the Morrocan International.

El Ahmadi made his Villa Park debut against Everton. It was a goalscoring debut which again earned him recognition at the end of the month as he was voted the club's best player in August. 

Later in the 2012-13 season, El Ahmadi picked up an injury and was limited to only 24 appearances in his first season at the club. El Ahmadi started the 2013-14 season in very good form, demonstrating solid performances in midfield, including a goal in a 3–2 win against Manchester City.

Whilst the former FC Twente and Feyenoord midfielder only made 50 appearances for the club, his impact and quality was for all to see. He earned a move back to Feyenoord after his successful spell in the Premier League.

4). Ahmed Elmohamady


The first ever Egyptian to wear the iconic claret and blue was Ahmed Elmohamady. Born in El-Kurba, he is nicknamed the 'Egyptian King' by many Villans.

On July 19, 2017, Elmohamady signed for Aston Villa for an undisclosed fee which would see him reunited with former Hull City boss Steve Bruce again. Elmo notched five assists in his first season at the club in the 46 games he played in the Championship and Carabao Cup.

A year later and Elmohamady totalled eleven goal contributions, including two assists in the Championship play-off campaign that saw Villa gain promotion back to the top flight after three years.

Elmohamady's recently scored in Villa's 5-0 win over a young Liverpool side in the Carabao Cup quarter finals this season. The Egyptian right back has captained Villa twice in since joining the club from Hull City.

3). Idrissa Gueye


Everton and Aston Villa have traded eighteen players in transfer windows dating back to 1889. Idrissa Gueye became the latest as he left Villa Park in 2016 after Villa's relegation season.

He joined the Villa in July of 2015 after Paddy Reilly's destructive 'moneyball' strategy deemed that Gueye was the perfect midfielder for Villa, as he joined with all the numerical references possible from tackle success, to distance covered. 

Gueye scored one goal for Villa in a 2-0 win over Wycombe in an FA Cup replay. He made 35 league appearances for Villa as the club was relegated from the Premier League at the end of the season. Everton bought the Senegal International before Paris Saint Germain came calling.

2). George Boateng


Born in Nkawkaw, Ghana, George Boateng made his first strides in professional football at the very stadium Villa won their European Cup - De Kuip Stadium, Rotterdam, Netherlands.

He made 70 appearances for Dutch giants Feyenoord, including Champions League starts against Manchester United and Juventus in  a time Alessandro Del Piero and David Beckham reigned supreme.

On leaving Feyenoord, he joined Dion Dublin to sign for Gordon Strachan's Coventry City for a fee of £220,000 in 1998. His defensive qualities helped the Sky Blues finish eleventh in the Premier League that season.

After scoring twice at Villa Park, the next season Boateng transferred to Aston Villa for £4.5 million. He proceeded to play 131 matches for Villa, including an FA Cup final defeat against Chelsea in 2000. The tough-tackling central midfielder then fell out with manager Graham Taylor in the 2001-02 season.

Boateng now coaches the U18's at Aston Villa, and has recently admitted  that he would like to be in the dugout at Villa Park in the not too distant future.

1). Christian Benteke


There's only one man can top this list. Christian Benteke may well be the best striker Villa fans have seen at Villa Park for several decades. He arrived on B6 having scored three goals in five Pro League games at the beginning of the 2012-13 season with Genk.

The big Belgian was brought to Villa by Paul Lambert who spent €6 million on a striker that was widely unknown to English football. Though after netting on his debut, the Premier League would soon come accustomed to Benteke bailing out a Villa side so reliant on his goals.

Lambert labelled Benteke as "unplayable" after his 18 league goal season saw him exceed Dwight Yorke's record for most Premier League goals in a season by an Aston Villa player and pass the 20 goal mark in all competitions to become the first player to do so for Villa since Juan Pablo Ángel in the 2004-04 season.

Benteke's stellar first campaign in the Premier League raised speculation about his future. His 23 goals in all competitions attratced interest from around Europe, but he later signed a new four-year contract with the club. He was once again amongst the goals in his second season in England, as Villa won at Arsenal and battled hard in Chelsea to open the 2013-14 campaign. Three goals in two made for a quick start after scoring seven goals in pre-season.

A season of niggling injuries and setbacks would later holt Villa's league progress but Benteke's influence in the three seasons he stayed at Villa for, was huge. He will remain an icon in these parts for some time to come, and is now the reason to why Villa extensively search in Belgium to unearth similar gems.

Villa have spent our £55m on Pro League talent since Benteke's arrival from Genk.