BY HENRY MHARA
WARRIORS star Marvelous Nakamba will not leave Aston Villa in the current transfer window despite reported interest from the club’s Premier League rivals, Everton and Crystal Palace.
Reports at the weekend suggested that Everton and Crystal Palace are weighing up bids for the midfielder.
Both clubs are under new management — Rafa Benitez at Everton and Patrick Vieira at Palace — and both are looking at revamping their squads ahead of the new season.
Newcastle are also known to be long-time admirers of the former Hwange star and are reportedly ready to enter a bidding war with the Toffees and the Eagles if the player is made available on the market.
Nakamba, who last year turned down interest from Spanish giants Valencia, could not be reached for comment yesterday.
However, sources close to him said he would reject any offers to leave Villa Park this transfer window.
“Marve is settling well and is very happy at the club,” a source said.
“He wants to fight for his place in the team. He is focused on that. It is almost certain that he will play for Aston Villa next season,” the source added.
British newspaper Daily Mail reported that Villa would be reluctant to lose Nakamba, but Everton and Palace are ready to test their resolve by launching moves for the midfielder before the transfer window shuts at the end of August.
The 27-year-old wasn’t a first-team regular under Dean Smith last season, but did impress when he played.
Making nine league starts, with 13 appearances overall, Nakamba was preferred over Douglas Luiz for the final two games of the season, resulting in back-to-back wins over Spurs and Chelsea.
He was named man of the match in the 2-1 win over the Blues and was also outstanding against Spurs.
He arrived at Villa in the summer of 2019 from Belgian club Club Brugge and quickly established himself in Dean Smith’s plans.
The Warriors star midfielder has made 50 appearances in all competitions during his two seasons at Villa Park and has made himself a favourite of the fans due to his workhorse performance.
After enjoying such a strong finish to last season, Nakamba will be hoping to carry on with his good form into the new term which begins in August.
He is expected to be Smith’s preferred anchorman at the start of the season as Luiz is expected to be given an extended break following his involvement with the national teams.
The Brazilian played in the Copa America games that ended on July 11, and is also part of the country’s Under-23 squad currently participating at the Tokyo Olympics.
Nakamba is already heavily involved in Villa’s pre-season preparations and was a standout performer in the team’s 2-0 defeat by championship side Stoke City on Saturday.
He started the match and was replaced on the hour mark when Villa changed their entire starting XI.
- Follow Henry on Twitter @henrymhara