Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE international Marvelous Nakamba is set to leave Aston Villa before the close of the transfer deadline tonight amid talk linking the midfielder to some unnamed English Championship football sides.
Reports from England have suggested that West Bromwich Albion is among the Championship sides interested in the midfielder.
His agent David Manasseh yesterday confirmed he was working on the midfielder’s exit ahead of the lapse of the January transfers deadline at 11pm (UK time) tonight. Manasseh however, could not say which club Nakamba would be heading to.
“I’m working on it, I’m sure by tomorrow (today) we will have a result,” Manasseh told the Birmingham Mail of England.
Nakamba’s future has been hanging in the balance after he was told by Villa manager Unai Emery that he was no longer wanted at the English Premiership club, although he still has more than a year remaining on his contract.
The 29-year-old was set to enter the final 12 months of his Villa deal during the next transfer window. But that may not happen as Emery has made it clear he does not fit in his plans.
Nakamba is one of the players that have been put on the transfer list by the club. Emery has also let Danny Ings (£15m, West Ham), and Frederic Guilbert (free, Strasbourg) leave the club on permanent deals, while Cameron Archer (loan, Middlesbrough) and Morgan Sanson (loan, Strasbourg), have been loaned out.
Jan Bednarek has returned to Southampton while Ludwig Augustinsson could move to Spanish La Liga side Real Mallorca on loan from parent club Sevilla.
Nakamba had been finding it difficult to find a new home in the Premiership but the midfielder could do with a “demotion” to the second-tier English Championship.
The Birmingham Mail yesterday reported there were some EPL and Championship clubs that have shown interest in Nakamba.
“Marvelous Nakamba is set to leave Aston Villa before the end of the transfer window after struggling for game time this season,” said a report by John Townley.
“The Zimbabwe international is yet to feature for Villa in any competition this term and has been told by manager Unai Emery that he can leave this month. Nakamba’s last appearance for Villa came against Manchester City in the final game of last season.
“The 29-year-old is set to enter the final 12 months of his contract in the summer and may well have played his final game for the club. A few Premier League and Championship clubs are interested in signing Nakamba on loan until the end of the season.”
Nakamba is one of the players that have been put on the transfer list by the club, along with Frenchman Morgan Sanson and Swedish Ludwig Augustinsson.
The Warriors international signed for Aston Villa from Belgian giants Club Brugge for €12m in August 2019. The midfielder has made 58 EPL appearances since joining the club, 29 coming in his maiden season in the 2019/20 season.
He followed that up with 13 appearances the next season but has had to grapple with a series of injuries and loss of form. His last appearance for Villa came against Manchester City in the final day of the 2021/22 season.
But he was overlooked for the 20 EPL games played so far in the campaign.
Nakamba was a key figure in the early days of Steven Gerrard’s reign but a knee injury in December 2021 impacted heavily on his progress.
Nakamba, who had fallen out of favour with previous managers Dean Smith, Gerrard and his interim successor Aaron Danks, still found it difficult to get game time under Emery.
Last season Nakamba had 16 appearances but was yet to play a minute of English Premiership football this year, apart from a few friendly games during the World Cup break.
The Football Insider yesterday reported that West Brom have opened talks with the player’s handlers to facilitate the midfielder’s move before the transfer deadline.
Nakamba needs to find a club where he can be able to play regularly and probably see out the remainder of the campaign with.
“West Brom are in the market for midfield reinforcements and they are confident of sealing a deal for Nakamba,” The Football Insider reported yesterday.
“The Zimbabwe international is keen to join a club where he can secure regular first-team football and is willing to drop down a division to do so.
“The Baggies have so far not registered an arrival or a departure in the January transfer window. But manager Carlos Corberan wants to strengthen his garrison as his side aims for a push towards the play-off places in the final 18 matches of the Championship season.”
But as Nakamba continues to fight his misfortunes, fellow Zimbabwean midfielder Marshall Munetsi was on top of his game when his French Ligue 1 side Stade de Reims fought hard to get a point away to star-studded PSG on Sunday night.
Munetsi was in the thick of things as Reims scored a late equaliser. He played 75 minutes before he was replaced by 19-year-old Malian Kamory Doumbia.
Reims continued with their unbeaten run when they forced a 1-1 draw at the French Ligue 1 champions. Arsenal loanee Folarin Balogun equalised six minutes into stoppage time against the 10-man log leaders PSG.
“Amazing performance from the team. We keep going until the end,” said Munetsi after the game.
PSG featured 2022 World Cup stars Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe. Neymar scored early in the second half before Marco Verratti was shown a straight red card shortly after coming on as a substitute.
Reims are yet to taste defeat in 12 games in all competitions since William Still replaced Oscar Garcia as head coach last October. The draw saw them climbing a place to 11th.
Despite their good run, Reims have largely been unable to convert draws into wins. They would have been in the European conversation if the English-Belgian manager had been in charge for the whole campaign.
They have now drawn 11 of their opening 20 games in Ligue 1 this season, more than any other side in the league.