Aston Villa midfielder Marvelous Nakamba on Tuesday completed a transfer deadline-day loan switch to Championship side Luton Town.
The 29-year-old Zimbabwe international will end his season at the second-tier club after Aston Villa’s new manager Unai Emery publicly stated that he was not in his plans, and advised him to find another club.
Nakamba has more than a year left on his contract with Villa, and his agents will be looking for a path back to the top flight for the former Nancy and Vitesse player.
Luton manager Rob Edwards said: “We’re so pleased to be able to bring Marvelous in. That position is one we’ve been looking to fill for a while. I think we’ve got a lot of good midfielders, but not many natural, deep midfield players and I really like what he’s about.
“He’s got a brilliant attitude, great physicality, good quality and I think he really suits the way we play, so he will fit in really well with us.
“He’s had amazing experiences playing in the Premier League and Champions League, and we want him to bring all of that to try to help improve us.
“There are difficult decisions within this window, but everything that we are trying to do is always with an aim to try to keep improving and moving forward, and we feel that being able to get Marvelous in the building to the end of the season is a real coup for us.”
Speaking after finalising his medical at The Brache, Nakamba said: “I’m very happy to be here at Luton Town. I know Henri Lansbury from Aston Villa and Ethan Horvath because I played with him at Club Brugge, so it’s a good feeling to see them again.
“I spoke with the gaffer and he told me about the project of the club and I told him my situation, that it was interesting for me to come over here.
“I think it’s good for the club, great for me and I love the ambition at the club. I’m looking forward to contributing to help the team.”
Hwange-born Nakamba began his career with Bantu Rovers in Bulawayo before he signed for French side Nancy at the age of 18 after a successful trial in 2012.
Two years later, he played his first match as a professional, starting in a 3-1 home win against Angers. After two appearances for the Ligue 2 outfit, Nakamba signed for Dutch side Vitesse Arnhem on a four-year-deal.
The defensive midfielder established himself in Vitesse’s starting eleven during the 2015-16 campaign, and within that same year made his international debut for Zimbabwe.
To date, following his first cap against Malawi, he has represented his country 26 times including at the Africa Cup of Nations in 2017 and once in 2019.
As well as his competition debut in 2017, he played a vital part in Vitesse’s KNVB Beker cup victory against AZ Alkmaar, the first trophy the Dutch side had won in its 125-year history.
Following his time in the Netherlands, Nakamba joined Belgian side Club Brugge that same year and helped them win the Belgian First Division alongside Ethan Horvath, later making five appearances for the club in the Champions League against AS Monaco, Borussia Dortmund and Atletico Madrid.
In 2019, he signed for Aston Villa in the summer transfer window. He made his first Villa appearance against Crewe Alexandra in a 6-1 EFL Cup victory, before making his Premier League debut a month later against West Ham.
Nakamba made 16 appearances in the top-flight last season, but Emery’s arrival has edged him closer to the door.
With 19 matches still to play, Luton are currently seventh in the Championship and miss out on the promotion playoff places on goal difference.