Writing is on the wall for Nakamba . . . as Villans axe transfer guru  

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Nigel Matongorere

THE Aston Villa inquest into why the club struggled during the just-ended English Premier League (EPL) season has already claimed one big scalp leaving Zimbabwe international Marvelous Nakamba, pictured, and a host of other stars on the brink.

Just a few hours after securing their English Premier League (EPL) status by drawing with West Ham on the final day last Sunday, the Villa hierarchy acted swiftly by sacking sporting director Jesus Garcia Pitarch.
The Spaniard, who is popularly known as Suso, was in charge of the club’s recruitment strategy last summer as Villa spent £140 million on 12 new players including Nakamba following promotion to the EPL.
Most of those signings however, did not justify the huge investment made by billionaire co-owners Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens.
Sawiris is determined to become a big player in football and is also buying into top-flight Portuguese club Vitoria and wants to see Villa fighting for European places and winning trophies. He wants to emulate the link-up Manchester City have with Spanish second tier side Girona.


By sacking Suso and embarking on an overhaul of the recruitment structure at Villa Park, the ambitious Egyptian billionaire and his American partner
want to ensure their cash is being used wisely moving forward.
For most of the season, the Midlands side was in the relegation zone before eventually turning it around in the remaining four games despite the heavy investment made last season.
Villa’s struggles were blamed on Suso’s transfer strategy of signing unproven EPL talent in the hope of selling them on for profit.
For Nakamba, it was a debut campaign in the English top flight full of mixed emotions after initially showing great signs following his £12 million switch from Belgian side Club Brugge last summer.
Unfortunately for the Zimbabwean, his form took a massive dip when the league resumed after the coronavirus (Covid-19)-induced break.
Nakamba was reduced to a squad player and only started one of the eight matches after the break.
In an ominous assessment of the Zimbabwean’s debut season with Villa; the influential BirminghamMail reserved their judgment.
As Birmingham’s leading publication, the paper is normally in sync with the inner workings of everything happening at Villa with their editorial policy normally reflecting the direction the club is likely going.
“The Zimbabwean was Suso’s cheaper alternative to the man Smith wanted, Kalvin Phillips from Leeds. Nakamba endured an up-and-down first year at Villa Park,” the Birmingham Mail wrote yesterday.
“He looked good from the outset with form dipping thereafter. He was Villa’s best player prior to the pandemic break but, again, that wasn’t saying much given they were spiraling towards relegation.
“Lost his place and didn’t feature much at all during the restart. Currently a back-up player chucked on at the end to help see a game out.”
To make matters worse, Villa midfielder John McGinn also challenged Sawiris and Edens to make another huge investment by signing “quality players” next season.
“I think everyone is aware we need quality added. We obviously spent a lot of money last summer and we may need to go and do it again,” McGinn said.
“We can’t get complacent and think everything is alright now. It was a poor season overall, we know that, both us as players and I am sure everyone upstairs is fully aware of that. There will be changes, I am sure of that.
“The ones who know what this club means, know what it means to play here, need to get that across as quickly as possible to whoever comes in.”

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