The dream of Dean Smith is to be able to field two capable players in each position - and his depth in defensive midfield is now ‘Marvelous’ thanks to Villa’s latest ball-winner. A summer-long pursuit ended with Marvelous Nakamba eventually joining Aston Villa following the conclusion of lengthy negotiations with Club Brugge.
He’s yet to kick a ball for Villa - but he’s just what the side need right now. Pending the arrival of Douglas Luiz from Manchester City, Nakamba is the only out-and-out defensive midfielder in the first team picture. A vigorous box-to-box player, Nakamba has the energy to last a full ninety while snuffing out attacks. His approach to the game should lead him to a natural midfield partnership with fellow long-distance runner John McGinn, a pair of terriers ready to snap at the hells of the Premier League’s best. He’ll have a tough job, but it’s not been easy so far for Marvelous. He’s well suited to the ‘hard way.’ Starting out as a footballer, he turned out for Bantu Rovers, a football club that is practically as far away in Zimbabwe as you can get from his small mining hometown. A stint in France followed, and turned into a role at Holland’s Vitesse before Champions League football with Brugge. It’s not been easy to arrive at the Premier League, but here he is.
In Nakamba, Villa have the next big footballing hope of a nation. Zimbabwe breathes when Marvelous kicks the ball (it’s true, I’ve managed to have a chat with another of big names in Zimbabwe football fandom and my god they are rooting hard for this guy) and Villa’s fanbase will swell in size due to his arrival.
A future Zimbabwe captain - Marvelous is already an icon at the Villa due to his personality, and of course, his name. A level-headed, god-fearing footballer, Marvelous won’t be shocked by the level of the world’s best football league - and he might end up as one of the stars of a positive season for Villa.