London — Reports in Belgium have stated that Aston Villa have arranged an £8.5 million deal to bring Tanzanian forward Mbwana Ally Samatta to the club from Jupiler Pro side Racing Club Genk.
Samatta has scored ten goals this season for Genk in the Belgian league and will replace injured striker Wesley at Villa.
However, there is still work to do. The forward has been enjoying his time in European football, but if a move to England is to be approved, Samatta will have to pass the strict rules that are applied to non-EU players - who do not hold EU passports- who will essentially have a job and will be working in England once a transfer is finalised.
As Tanzania is outside of the European Union and the European Economic Area, Samatta will need a permit to work in the UK.
The Football Association apply a points-based system, and clubs have to apply to the FA for a 'Governing Body Endorsement' - which acts as somewhat of a waiver, which permits the Home Office and FA to allow a work permit to be granted.
Passing the points system means a work permit is offered - but that only happens for players who are senior internationals for nations who rank in the top ten in the FIFA World Rankings.
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Tanzania's highest FIFA ranking was 70th - in 1995. Currently they are 134th. This means that Samatta will have to gather enough points through a number of other criteria.
For example, Samatta will gain points if he plays in a high percentage of available minutes for Genk, he will gain points for playing in European competition and internationally for Tanzania (though due to their low FIFA ranking, he will need to have played more games than say - an Argentine forward).
He will gain points for earning a 'qualifying wage' - a higher than average wage that shows the player to be of a certain value, and will gain points for the transfer fee paid.
Even if Samatta does not pass the points-based system, he will still have a chance as an FA Exceptions Panel can review and grant a 'Governing Body Endorsement' if an appeal is submitted by Villa.
As the player has been living and working in Belgium since 2016 there is a possibility that the player may have applied for Belgian citizenship and an EU passport. This is not possible because Tanzania does not accommodate dual citizenship.