Aston Villa manager Dean Smith

Noel Whelan says Aston Villa are taking a significant risk in trying to sign KRC Genk striker Mbwana Samatta as they fight against relegation from the Premier League.

The former Leeds hitman and current broadcast pundit, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, says that the Villans really need a proven goalscorer to sign during the January transfer window after losing Wesley to a season-ending injury.

Smith confirmed after the club’s 1-1 draw with Brighton that they were on the brink of signing the 27-year-old striker in a bid to boost their attacking options for the rest of the season.

However, Whelan says a player who has spent all of his career in Europe in the Belgian top-flight is not the answer to Smith’s problems up front.

Whelan told Football Insider: “It’s always a bit of a gamble, isn’t it? You’re going to be unsure with what you’re going to get, can they cope with the demands of the Premier League, can they hit the ground running when they come in?

“A whole load of factors come into play. We’ve seen bigger names struggle in the Premier League and can’t find their feet in the first season.

“Villa really need somebody that’s going to hit the ground running with the predicament they’re in at the minute. It is a big gamble, it is a risk, it isn’t guaranteed it’s going to work, at all.” 

Samatta has netted 10 goals in 28 appearances across all competitions this season, three of those strikes coming in the Champions League group stage.

He has scored in England already this campaign, finding the back of the net in a 2-1 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield.

In other Aston Villa news, it can be REVEALED that an imminent signing is already training with the club ahead of his move.