Aston Villa closing in on deal for Genk striker Mbwana Samatta

John Percy
The Telegraph
Mbwana Samatta scores for Genk against Liverpool in the Champions League - Reuters
Mbwana Samatta scores for Genk against Liverpool in the Champions League - Reuters

Aston Villa are close to ending their search for a striker with the £8.5 million capture of Mbwana Samatta from Belgian First Division club Genk.

Samatta, a Tanzania international who scored against Liverpool in the group stages of the Champions League in November, is expected to hold talks with Villa officials on Friday and could complete his move next week.

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The 27 year old will require a work permit but Villa are confident of signing Samatta to boost their struggling squad, following the loss of £21 million buy Wesley for the season with a knee injury.

Villa have scoured Europe in their pursuit of a forward, and still hope to sign another striker - most probably on loan - before the transfer window shuts on January 31.

Dean Smith, the Villa head coach, has admitted that the sheer lack of options has forced the club to adjust their targets after initially focusing on players with Premier League experience.

"There is a necessity and we have to strengthen massively in that area. January is even harder without recognised strikers as clubs can stick prices up a bit," he said.

"It's always has been a tough window, and you have to take a couple of risks. There will be a big boost to the whole squad when we get a striker in and we’re working hard to do that.

“Finding players with that experience has been tough, there’s 10-11 teams in the mix for a bottom three place."

Villa have already signed former Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina on loan from AC Milan, while Danny Drinkwater has joined from Chelsea.

Jonathan Kodjia, the forward, is expected to move before the window closes while Villa are open to offers for midfielder Henri Lansbury.

Smith takes his squad to Brighton this Saturday with the club in the relegation zone.

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