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Aston Villa: Dean Smith had a mare with Mbwana Samatta

Aston Villa recently announced the appointment of Spanish manager Unai Emery as Steven Gerrard’s replacement and the boss enjoyed a terrific first game in charge as he beat Manchester United 3-1 in the Premier League.

The former Villarreal head coach only has one more top-flight match left before the World Cup in Qatar and two games prior to the opening of the January transfer window.

He may be active in the market to bolster his squad and the gaffer should be hoping to avoid any howlers, which is something recent Villa managers have failed to do.

Dean Smith enjoyed a largely successful spell in the Midlands, earning promotion out of the Championship and securing survival in the top flight, but he was no stranger to signing a flop.

One player he had a nightmare with was the arrival of striker Mbwana Samatta, who joined the Villans in an £8.5m deal from Genk in January 2020.

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The English boss hailed the signing at the time, saying: “I’m really pleased we have managed to bring Mbwana to the club.

“He has scored goals throughout his career and I’m looking forward to working with him.”

Samatta once claimed that Didier Drogba used to be his favourite player in the Premier League and that he tried to copy the former Chelsea forward’s movement and running style to improve his own performances.

Samatta may have copied the Ivorian legend’s style but the Villa flop was unable to replicate his goalscoring prowess. Drogba scored 104 goals and provided 64 assists in 254 Premier League games for the Blues, as he proved himself to be a prolific scorer in England over the course of a number of years.

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However, the Villa striker struggled to make a positive impression in the English top flight as he scored once in 14 Premier League matches in the second half of the 2019/20 campaign.

He missed three ‘big chances’ and lost 59% of his individual duels in that time as he failed to find his best form in front of goal and was not able to dominate opposition defenders from a physical perspective.

This led to him being sent out on loan to Fenerbahce for the 2020/21 season and he mustered up six goals in 33 appearances in all competitions for the Turkish side, which led to a permanent move for an initial £5.5m.

Despite signing him permanently, Fener opted to instantly send him out on loan to Royal Antwerp in Belgium and his nine goals in 39 games there were not enough to convince his parent club to give him another chance as they loaned him out to Genk for 2022/23.

Samatta has scored once in 11 appearances and failed to provide a single assist in the Pro League this season, averaging a SofaScore rating of 6.65, as he has struggled to kickstart his career since flopping at Villa.

Smith had a mare by snapping him up in 2020, as the striker failed to make the grade in England, and the 29-year-old’s struggling form in Belgium this term does not suggest that the striker is going to turn his fortunes around any time soon.