Aston Villa’s forgotten man Marvelous Nakamba needs to ‘look for new challenges’ after being told he is not part of Unai Emery’s plans at the Premier League outfit, former Zimbabwe coach Joey Antipas tells The Herald.
Frederic Guilbert has gone, Morgan Sanson is going, and an £11 million signing from Club Brugge also appears to have made his final appearance in claret-and-blue.
Emery, ringing the changes in his first transfer window as Aston Villa boss, said ahead of Saturday’s 1-0 win at Southampton that Nakamba could be on his way before next week’s transfer deadline.
“We are speaking about how we can improve,” Emery tells the Birmingham Live. “Some players like Nakamba, I told him to leave.”
MARVELOUS NAKAMBA HAS NO FUTURE UNDER UNAI EMERY AT ASTON VILLA
It’s a classic case of ‘what might have been’. Nakamba made a massive impact during the first few weeks of Steven Gerrard’s tenure back in 2021; the former Rangers boss labelling him a ‘fantastic’ talent. That was until an unfortunate injury stalled all that progress.
Now, with Nakamba behind John McGinn, Douglas Luiz, Boubacar Kamara, Leander Dendoncker, Jacob Ramsey and even Sanson in Emery’s pecking order, a parting of the ways feels like the best solution for everyone.
“He should hold his head up and look for new challenges elsewhere, if possible,” says Antipas, a former caretaker manager for the Zimbabwe national team.
“He needs to get his confidence back. At 29, he can still play to his best and be at the peak of his career. A good footballer at that level always finds ways to get out of these situations. I’m just hoping for the best for Marvelous.
“It’s a sad development. Especially when you consider that Marvelous, not so long ago, was the mainstay of this team under Gerrard. But we must also understand that Emery is a new coach. It’s normal that he comes in with new ideas. And possibly a new set of players that he believes will help him achieve his goals.
“It can be heart-breaking for a player. Suddenly, you cannot make the matchday squad and you are being told to leave.”
Nakamba has not made a single Premier League appearance all season. And Emery admits that Aston Villa may look to bring in a replacement; the likes of Mikel Merino, Dani Parejo and former Arsenal youngster Matteo Guendouzi reportedly under consideration.
“If they are leaving – Nakamba, Sanson – maybe we try to add one player,” the former PSG boss adds. “It’s not clear about this possibility. I want to sign one player (who can) improve the quality of the squad.”