Aston Villa has officially confirmed the capture of Genk forward Mbwana Samatta for a reported fee of £10m.
The Tanzania international scored the only goal for his side in November’s 2-1 loss at Anfield in the Champions League group stages, with that strike one of ten goals in 28 appearances this term.
Samatta also netted in both of Genk’s Group E defeats at the hands of Red Bull Salzburg.
Villa has been searching for more firepower up front following the news that £21m summer signing Wesley would not feature again this campaign after rupturing ligaments in his knee.
They announced Samatta’s signing on their official website, with the striker saying in an interview as posted on the club’s Twitter account: “I’m so excited. It’s a huge step for me in my career and for all the people from Tanzania. This is a very big step for the country, as well.
“Everybody is so on it. They were looking to see one Tanzanian guy who can play in the Premier League, and here, today, I am him.”
Agreeing on a move to Villa Park makes Samatta the first man from his country to play in any of Europe’s top five leagues. Prior to his spell at Genk, the 27-year-old had only experienced professional football in his homeland and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
He is Villa’s third arrival of the winter transfer window after they secured loan deals for Chelsea midfielder Danny Drinkwater and Milan goalkeeper Pepe Reina.
A 1-1 draw at the Amex Stadium on Saturday means Dean Smith’s team remain in the relegation zone, one point off of 17th-placed Watford.
The Villans’ financial situation makes returning to the second division a rather ominous prospect for the club, which has triggered a flurry of activity this month.
They had been linked with a move for Milan’s out-of-favour frontman Krzysztof Piatek, but news of Samatta’s signing – combined with the Pole’s £30m asking-price – make a move for unlikely.
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