ENGLISH Premier League sides Everton and Aston Villa are reportedly eyeing a move for Warriors star Marvelous Nakamba before the close of the transfer window on August 31 after being impressed by his strong finish to last season.
The 27-year-old defensive midfielder initially endured a difficult campaign as he spent much of last season on the bench, but emphasised his importance at the Birmingham-based club with some solid performances when he was given opportunities towards the end of the season.
Nakamba starred in wins against Tottenham and Chelsea in May while he also played a crucial role in Villa's home win over Arsenal and away win at Leeds, to help the Villans to achieve an 11th-place finish.
There have been reports that Aston Villa manager Dean Smith is planning to give the Warriors star a bigger role at the club this season ahead of his Brazilian rival Douglas Luiz, who will miss the start of the campaign due to his participation in the Olympic Games.
However, the English newspaper Daily Mail revealed on Friday evening that the Zimbabwe international could be on the move this summer with Everton boss Rafael Benitez and new Crystal Palace manager Patrick Viera both big admirers of the midfield enforcer.
The two managers were reportedly impressed by Nakamba when he did feature in a Villa shirt and believe they can lure him away with the offer of more game time.
Nakamba has to compete with the likes of Luiz, Scotsman John McGinn and Frenchman Morgan Sanson for a place in Villa's starting eleven.
"Everton and Crystal Palace are weighing up moves for Aston Villa midfielder Marvelous Nakamba before the close of the transfer window. New Toffees boss Rafa Benitez and recently installed Palace manager Patrick Vieira are looking to bolster their midfield options this summer and Nakamba is understood to feature highly on their wanted lists. Nakamba enjoyed a strong finish to last season with stand-out performances in the victories over Tottenham and Chelsea," the Daily Mail reported on Friday night.
The paper, however, conceded 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 report states that Everton and Palace are ready to "test Villa's resolve" with enticing offers, although a potential fee has not yet been revealed.
Nakamba played just played 16 times for Aston Villa last season, with three of those appearances coming in the Carabao Cup.
However, in a clear sign of his importance at the club, Villa won nine of the 13 Premier League matches he played.
The club averaged 1.7 points when Nakamba was named in the starting XI, as opposed to 1.34 points without him in the team.
In addition to helping Villa secure impressive results whenever he was on the field of play, Nakamba also boasts of the best defensive stats at the Birmingham club when it comes to tackles and interceptions.
Nakamba was originally signed by Villa from Club Brugge in August 2019. If Villa sanction a move for the player, they would want to recoup all of the £11 million they paid for him.
Meanwhile, Villa fans are desperate for their club to hold on to the popular Zimbabwean midfielder after was linked with a move away from the club.
The English club's fans immediately took to various social media platforms to insist Nakamba should stay at Villa Park.