News broke on Thursday from the Telegraph’s John Percy that Aston Villa have agreed a fee of around £11 million for the capture of 25-year-old Zimbabwean defensive midfielder Marvelous Nakamba from Club Brugge.
The 5’10 defensive stalwart will be Villa’s 11th summer signing, joining former teammates Bjorn Engels and Wesley at the club.
The midfielder started his career in his native Zimbabwe, before joining the French club Nancy in 2012, where he stayed before moving to Vitesse Arnhem in 2014. Three years later he moved to Brugge, where he has been for the last two years. He has seven international caps, playing a full 90 for Zimbabwe at this summer’s African Cup of Nations, earning a 6.52 rating with one key tackle and four interceptions in the match against Egypt.
He is a midfield tackler, a style of play similar to Idrissa Gueye from 2015/16, and is also good at passing the ball and distributing play. The left-footed player played only 15 matches in the league last season, but five in the Champions League is some vital big-game experience that will be important for Villa – He also averaged a 7.13 rating across these five matches, which is excellent.
Marvelous Nakamba will be a gritty defensive midfielder for Villa, confident in the tackle but also capable of passing the ball well. Whether he will start or not is another question, as Aston Villa have secured the signature of Douglas Luiz from Manchester City. It is therefore unsure how often Nakamba will play, but sitting in between Grealish and McGinn playing a role similar to that of Whelan last season – There when called upon – is most likely in my mind.
The transfer is a solid one for Villa, as Nakamba comes in a position that we lack any players for, and for a decent fee for a man who has performed well in the Champions League. It also paves the way for players like Birkir Bjarnason and Henri Lansbury to depart VP, as the Suso Summer of 2019/20 continues in full flow.
Statistics according to WhoScored.com