Marvelous Nakamba is still yet to prove that he can be Aston Villa’s holding midfielder for years to come.
On the chalkboard
The Zimbabwe international signed from Club Brugge in the summer, something that can be seen as a risk considering that they are in a lesser league.
Villa signed various players in this bracket, including Wesley and Trezeguet, but the jury is still out on whether this decision has been vindicated as they look to maintain their Premier League status.
Nakamba is one of those that will be continually judged, as he is still yet to completely show that he is capable of being a solid Premier League midfielder.
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Still to prove himself
So far this campaign, the 26-year-old has made 16 starts in the league, adding two substitute appearances to that number.
He has been heavily involved when on the pitch, with his biggest influence naturally being in the defensive side of the game.
During his time at Villa, Nakamba has averaged 2.6 tackles, 1.6 interceptions, 1.4 clearances and 0.5 blocks, which indicates how often he makes interventions that benefit Dean Smith’s side.
However, he has also committed 1.1 fouls and been dribbled past 1.9 times on average. The fact these combine to be a more significant total than his tackles hints that he may still be struggling to keep up to speed with the English top tier.
Did he really play for us?! No Villa fan has managed to name all of these obscure Villans….
There have also been incidents that epitomise this, one of the biggest examples being when he put a chance on a plate for Southampton striker Danny Ings to convert as Villa lost against the Saints.
He has a respectable pass success rate of 84%, while he hasn’t recorded any goals or assists for the Villans, which indicates that he is keeping things simple.
It can be argued that his game is fairly limited in this regard, supported by the lack of goal contributions, but he has ensured this is not too costly by retaining the ball.
But what all this adds up to is a player who has shown some ability in a Villa shirt, yet also some clear shortcomings.
All in all, it’s still not clear whether Villa’s gamble on the midfielder was indeed a wise one.