It’s hardly the news reveal of the century, but former Aston Villa striker Mbwana Samatta has been speaking about his brief spell at the club and confirmed that the pause in the fixture list owing to Covid had a massive impact on his ability to settle into life at the club.
Having joined us for a reported £10million fee in January 2020, Samatta went on to make 13 starting appearances for us, with three showings off the bench, but only returned two goals – Bournemouth and Manchester City.
Ahead of the pause in the calendar we were seeing some glimpses of what he might have been capable of doing for us, but as fans will remember after that break, he failed to score again and he really struggled.
Speaking to Het Nieuwsblad recently, Samatta repeated that it had been a dream come true to play in the Premier League but put very simply, the move just didn’t go to plan given things that were out of everyone’s control.
“It started with corona. That was a little bit **** for all clubs and players but I had just arrived. I had to adapt to a new club, culture and competition – and suddenly everything came to a halt. It was a real shame because I had just scored in the League Cup final. When everything restarted, it didn’t go as planned. Not for the team – it was a fight for preservation – and not for myself. Dean Smith was ok. I just struggled like many other players.”
Having moved to Fenerbahce at the end of the 2019/20 campaign on a loan to buy deal with us ultimately taking a loss on his initial fee, Samatta struggled again, scoring only five times in 16 starts and 14 substitute showings and he now finds himself out on loan with Belgian side Royal Antwerp, so that will leave a number of fans thinking we maybe dodged a bullet ultimately – but we’ll never really know.
Although there’s some irony in the fact he opened the scoring against them this week in the Europa League.
The only bit of the interview I can disagree with is where he describes Fenerbahce as ‘bigger than Villa’ but that’s not to do down their own achievements, he’s just wrong.