Mbwana Samatta: Who is Aston Villa's latest signing?
(Photo by Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC via Getty Images)

Aston Villa  have signed Mbwana Samatta for £10 million subject to a work permit which has so far prevented the forward playing part in three of Villa's last games.

Born in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, the striker who began his professional career in 2016 had been plying his trade in his home continent for six years.

Samatta spent a year in Tanzania with Simba Sports Club - one of two vastly superior football clubs in Eastern Africa. He scored 12 goals in 25 appearances, but Simba failed to win their 18th Tanzanian Premier League since it's inauguration in 1964.

 

After finding success in his homeland, Samatta moved over 1,000 miles through Zambia to sign for TP Mazembe - the 17 time Vodacom Ligue 1 champions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Samatta scored 60 goals in 103 matches for Mazembe before making it in Europe.

He was named the 2015 African based Player of the Year, and finished the season as the top goalscorer of the CAF Champions League as he helped TP Mazembe to win their third title since the turn of the millennium. Samatta scored seven times in the campaign that was a welcome distraction to Mazembe's league struggles.

In Samatta's time on the Congo, he won five Congalese titles in the six years that ended his career in Africa, but his admirers weren't limited to the continent he called his own. 

European dream

 

Samatta was the subject of interest from many a European club. He eventually settled on KRC Genk. The Belgian club have produced Leon BaileySergej Milinkovic-Savic and Wilfred Ndidi in past years that have helped fund Champions League and Julpier Pro League success.

Samatta signed a four-and-a-half-year contract with KRC Genk in 2015, and off the back of securing a move to a Champions League team he was awarded the Most Influential Young Tanzanian in a ranking poll by Avance Media.

Samatta managed four goals in his first 17 appearances for the Belgian club, and it wasn't until his second season at the club did he attract Premier League suiters, and other clubs from around Europe.

A 16 goal haul was an impressive total for a player still adapting to a league he'd joined only a year before. Seven goals in five games throughout March 2017 contributed to Samatta's 40% goalscoring involvement that season for Genk.

Gaining recognition

 

A new season, but the same goalscoring firepower from Samatta as the Tanzania captain turned 25 in the 2017-18 season.

On 23 August 2018, Samatta scored a hat-trick against Brøndby IF in the Europa League. Genk won 5-2 against the Swedish side who woudln't be the first team to concede three from Samatta alone.

In May 2019 he was awarded the Ebony Shoe award - with previous winners Youri TielemansRomelu Lukaku and Marouane Fellaini  all forging successful careers in the English top flight.

It was the following season of 2018-19 that Samatta really earned his 'Samagoal' nickname. 31 goal involvement across the 49 matches he played for Genk and Tanzania.

Last week, Samatta completed his long awaited move to Villa, having completed a medial after a £10 million deal was agreed with his former club.

Penning a four-and-a-half-year contract with the Premier League club, Samatta is set to make his debut against Leicester City in a Carabao Cup Semi-Final next Wednesday night.

What can he bring to Villa?

 

Villa are lacking in leaders after Tom Heaton has been ruled out for the rest of the season. Pepe Reina has, so far, replaced Heaton's quality and permanently, the experience lost through the former Burnley man.

Samatta has scored all types of goals for Genk. Last season he scored 19 with his right foot, nine with his left and 14 headers. His arial ability will come handy to a Villa side that have produced the fifth most crosses in the Premier League but are yet to score a header from the 470 crosses they’ve produced this term.

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