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Villa in need of even more firepower

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Genk's Mbwana Samatta. Photo: REUTERS

Genk's Mbwana Samatta. Photo: REUTERS

Genk's Mbwana Samatta. Photo: REUTERS

Aston Villa have moved to solve their striker shortage by signing Genk's Mbwana Samatta.

The Tanzanian has signed a four-and-a-half year deal, subject to a work permit and international clearance being granted, for what is understood to be an £8.5million fee.

Samatta, 27, scored 61 goals in 165 appearances during his four years with the Belgian club.

Boss Dean Smith told the official Villa website: "I'm really pleased we have managed to bring Mbwana to the club.

"He has scored goals throughout his career and I'm looking forward to working with him."

Samatta, who has scored 10 goals for Genk in all competitions this season, including a goal at Anfield against Liverpool in the Champions League, was not registered in time to make his debut in tonight's Premier League clash at home to Watford.

But Smith will be delighted to have sealed the Samatta deal given the threadbare attacking resources at his disposal.

Brazilian forward Wesley is out for the season with a knee injury, Keinan Davis has only just returned to training after three months absent with a hamstring problem, while Jonathan Kodjia has joined Qatari side Al-Gharafa.

Villa face the Hornets without a recognised striker for the fourth consecutive match and Smith admitted extra firepower was essential with his side in the relegation zone.

He said: "It's something we're talking about all the time. Suso (Jesus Garcia Pitarch, sporting director) believes the same as well. It's something we're looking for and looking to press on with as well."

Villa have allowed Croatia goalkeeper Lovre Kalinic to leave for French Ligue 1 side Toulouse on loan until the end of the season. Former Liverpool and Napoli goalkeeper Pepe Reina joined on loan from Inter Milan last week.