Zimbabwe: La Liga Doors Could Open for Nakamba

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opinion

Zimbabwe's only current football export to the English Premier League, Marvelous Nakamba could see a La Liga opportunity open up for him at struggling giants Valencia.

If the opportunity were to actually open up and the Warriors midfielder were to take it, he would become the first local player to play in the famed La Liga.

He is currently enduring a frustrating period at Aston Villa where he has been out of favour this season often sitting it out on the bench.

The former Chicken Inn midfielder got a rare start on Wednesday when John McGinn was sidelined, but as soon as Scotsman McGinn was available, Nakamba was shunted back to the bench despite putting up probably his best display in the Villa colours in the 2-0 win over Newcastle on Saturday.

Reports in the Spanish media claim Valencia will turn their attention to Nakamba if they fail to sign Lucas Torreira.

Valencia are reported to be desperate to recruit in January after a poor first half of the campaign. They sit 14th of the 20-club league and are just two points above the relegation zone.

Teamtalk reports that they have targeted Torreira, who is on a season-long loan with Atletico Madrid from Arsenal. The Uruguay international has found game time hard to come by on Diego Simeone's side.

They are flying high at the top of La Liga, but Torreira has played little part. He has featured in just nine league matches, starting two and with one goal to his name.

The La Liga table toppers seem reluctant to let the South American leave despite pushing him to the periphery all season.

Atletico have rebuffed all enquiries as to his availability but the word is Valencia are not taking no for an answer. They are hoping he returns to Arsenal this month and is then farmed out on loan to another club.

Should that not happen, Villa's Zimbabwe international is said to be their next target.

The publication El Mercantil Valenciano suggests that Nakamba and Ajax's Edson Alvarez are alternatives to Torreira.

The same report suggests that taking Nakamba away from Villa could be complicated without stating the reasons.

Nakamba made 19 Premier League appearances for Villa last term, but has been relegated to the bench in 2020-2021. The former Club Brugge midfielder has started only two league games among five outings.

He was linked with Turkish Super Liga club Trabzonspor in April last year, but remained in the West Midlands.

While he may not have been keen on a move to Turkey, interest from Villa might actually turn his head considering there could be better prospects of game time.

Despite their struggles this term, Valencia, remain one of the big sides in Spain and Nakamba could get an opportunity to play in one of the biggest leagues in the world.

Aston Villa manager Dean Smith may not want to see Nakamba leave considering he still needs him for cover.

Villa have Douglas Luiz, Ross Barkley, Conor Hourihane, Jack Grealish and John McGinn, who all seem to be ahead of Nakamba in the pecking order, but the club's former striker Gabriel Agbonlahor still expects Smith to cling on to Nakamba.

"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).

"Just because you have got Luiz, Grealish, Hourihane, McGinn, Barkley in front of him at the moment, there's injuries and suspensions that could happen. Who do you call for then? I'm sure he's the next one in line.

"I'm sure Dean Smith will be thinking he will use him at some point this season when needed.

"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's involved in the squad."

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