BY FORTUNE MBELE
FORMER Aston Villa captain Gabriel Agbonlahor believes club coach Dean Smith will keep Warriors midfielder Marvelous Nakamba amid reports of the Warriors’ star being linked with a move to Turkish giants Galatasaray.
Football Insider quotes Agbonlahor saying Nakamba will have a big role to play for Aston Villa in the current English Premiership despite having played only 13 minutes in two league games this far. Nakamba also made three appearances in the Carabao Cup.
Agbonlahor said Villa still needed cover for John McGinn and Douglas Luiz, the regular Aston Villa midfielders lest they suffer injuries or get suspended and the only back up that Smith has in his ranks would be the 26-year-old Zimbabwean. Asked by Football Insider correspondent Connor Whitely if it was high time Nakamba was sold, Agbonlahor was against the idea of shipping out the former Club Brugge star.
“I actually don’t, to be honest. Dean Smith will have picked his 25-man squad for the season, unless he has money to bring in new signings I don’t think he would get rid of him (Nakamba),” Agbonlahor said.
He added: “Just because you have got Luiz, Grealish, Hourihane, McGinn, Barkley in front of him at the moment, there is injuries and suspensions that could happen. Who do you call for then? I am sure he is the next one in line. I am sure Dean Smith will be thinking he will use him at some point this season when needed.”
Villa’s record Premier League goalscorer insists Nakamba should stay.
“At the moment Dean Smith needs a big squad for the season. The last thing you want is to have just 18 senior players available, as some clubs have already done this season like Burnley. That can easily happen if you decide to move players on. For sure, I think he keeps hold of him and he is involved in the squad,” Agbonlahor said.
Nakamba was signed for £11 million by Aston Villa last year but has struggled for game time and Galatasaray, who missed on a chance to grab the Warriors’ star last England’s summer, are targeting to get him on loan in the January transfer window.
A few weeks ago, a Turkish publication Diriliş Postası claimed that Galatasaray are still angling for Nakamba on loan and are offering to pay him an annual salary of 850 000 euros, half of what he is getting in England with Villa paying the other half.
Nakamba, who moved to England last year from Belgian side Club Brugge, has also been on the radar of two other Turkish giants Fernerbahce and Trabzonspor.
If he finally moves to Turkey, he will link up with his friend and Warriors’ teammate Teenage Hadebe, who plays for Yeni Malatyaspor in the Turkish Super Lig.
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