English Premier League club Aston Villa signed Tanzanian captain Mbwana Samatta from Belgian champions KRC Genk on a four-and-a-half-year deal for a reported £10 million fee.
Samatta’s transfer is subject to being granted a work permit and international clearance.
Samatta, the first Tanzanian to play in the English Premier League, expressed his delight at joining a team he used to watch play as a child.
“For all the people from Tanzania, this is a very big step for the country as well,” he said on the club’s website.
“Everybody there, they were looking for it to see when someone from Tanzania could play in the Premier League, and here today I am.”
Villa manager Dean Smith was praised Samatta whom he described as a player with a great attitude and goal scoring record.
“He’s a recognized striker for one. He’s got a great goal scoring record in Genk. Again, (his) character and personality, which is really important to us, is fantastic. Their (Genk) sporting director said we are losing one of our great characters and that’s something that you can’t buy.”
He had scored 43 goals in 98 appearances for Genk and has also represented Tanzania 56 times netting 20 goals.
Samatta, 27, will offer an attacking option following the long-term injury to striker Wesley and the departure of Côte d’Ivoire striker Jonathan Kodija to Qatari side Al-Gharafa on a two-and-a-half-year deal for an undisclosed fee.
Samatta is ineligible to represent Villa in today’s Premier League game against Watford as his transfer was not processed before Monday’s registration deadline. He will also miss Villa’s Carabao Cup semifinal second leg against Leicester City next Tuesday.
Samatta made history last year when he became the first Tanzanian to play and score in the UEFA Champions League as Genk lost to Austrian side Red Bull Salzburg 6-2.