Signed for £11m, now in 2nd tier: Smith endured Villa blunder over “Duracell battery” – opinion

Aston Villa head coach Unai Emery swooped to make two additions to bolster his playing squad during last month’s January transfer window.

The Villans boss worked with Johan Lange to snap up Jhon Duran and Alex Moreno on permanent deals from Chicago Fire and Real Betis respectively, to improve their options at the top end of the pitch and at left-back.

It remains to be seen whether or not either of them will be a success in the Premier League and it will be interesting to see if they can avoid becoming the latest in a growing line of top-flight flops for the club since they returned to the division in 2019.

Dean Smith, who was sacked in November 2021, led the side back to the top table by winning the play-offs in 2018/19 and splashed the cash in his first summer in charge.

The English boss brought in the likes of Tyrone Mings, Wesley, Matt Targett, Douglas Luiz, and Trezeguet, among others, to head into the 2019/20 Premier League campaign.

One of the signings from that summer that the now-out-of-work manager endured a blunder with was defensive midfielder Marvelous Nakamba.

Where is Marvelous Nakamba now?

The Zimbabwe international arrived at Villa Park from Belgian giants Club Brugge for a fee in the region of £11m and is currently plying his trade in the second tier of English football with Luton Town.

He joined the Hatters at the end of last month on loan until the end of the campaign after failing to make a single appearance in Villa’s first-team during the first half of the season.

Luton boss Rob Edwards recently described the midfielder as a “Duracell battery” and the gem has averaged a Sofascore rating of 6.80 across his three Championship appearances so far, winning 66% of his duels and making an eye-catching 5.0 tackles and interceptions per match.

Nakamba appears to have found his level after struggling badly in the Premier League following his big-money move from Belgium in the summer of 2019.

In his first campaign in England, the now-29-year-old was handed plenty of opportunities to prove his worth as Smith played the enforcer in 29 top-flight matches – 19 of which were starts.

However, an average Sofascore rating of 6.67 – placing him 18th in the squad – in 19/20 shows that the battler did not grasp his chance and failed to deliver consistently impressive displays in comparison to his teammates.

The midfielder then went on to start just 19 Premier League games in the following two seasons before his exclusion from the side in 2022/23 under Steven Gerrard and then Emery, which led to the decision to send him down a division to the Championship.

Therefore, Smith endured a Villa blunder by swooping to sign Nakamba for £11m as the flop has not become a consistent performer, or even selection, for the club and is now playing in the second division despite only turning 29 in January.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top