Photo by Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images,

Mbwana Samatta has said he could have stayed to fight for his place at Aston Villa before opting to leave the Premier League for Fenerbahce, speaking to Het Laaste Nieuws. 

As his parent club took on his temporary employers in last week’s Europa League group-stage clash between Fenerbahce and Royal Antwerp, as Samatta stepped on to the Bosuilstadion turf he must have felt he had an almighty point to prove.

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The Tanzania international was, in the words of one Turkish newspaper, a “huge disappointment” during his time in Istanbul.

But, as Royal Antwerp held Fener to a hard-fought 2-2 draw in Belgium, Samatta seized the chance to remind the Super Lig giants what he’s capable of, netting just his second goal of the season against the club who farmed him out on loan in September. 

And you’d have a heart of stone not to feel some pang of joy for Samatta. It has been a difficult couple of years for the striker to say the least. 

So why did Samatta leave Aston Villa for Fenerbahce?

A prolific goalscorer during his time at KRC Genk, the affable 28-year-old saw a dream move to Aston Villa scuppered by the season-pausing impact of covid-19, leaving just six months after arriving at the Premier League outfit. 

Not that he has any regrets about his decision to join Villa in the first place.  

“I still don’t think it’s a bad choice to leave KRC Genk for Aston Villa,” Samatta reflects. “Put me in a time machine and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

Photo by Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC via Getty Images

“Even if I knew in advance the corona crisis would break out – it’s the Premier League, man!” 

Speaking to the Birmingham Mail in September 2020, Villa boss Dean Smith admitted Samatta would have seen limited game time in claret and blue following the club-record arrival of Ollie Watkins that summer. 

“I didn’t have to leave Aston Villa,” Samatta adds. “Or Fenerbahce. (But) in difficult moments, you choose your home. And Belgium is my home.” 

Photo by Serhat Cagdas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

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