Aston Villa enter talks for €10m Genk striker Samatta

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Aston Villa have opened talks with Genk's Mbwana Samatta, who is expected to be available for a fee of around €10 million (£9m/$11m), to solve the club's striker crisis.

Brazilian hitman Wesley is set to miss the rest of the season with an anterior cruciate ligament injury sustained in the New Years Day win over Burnley, and Villa have since been testing the market for a number of centre-forwards.

Samatta was in training with Genk on Thursday, but Goal has learned that behind-the-scenes talks are progressing quickly after the Midlands club were knocked back in attempts to sign both Michy Batshuayi and Olivier Giroud on loan from Chelsea.

Dean Smith is desperate to secure a new striker, with the Villans in danger of being relegated back to the Championship one season on from gaining promotion through the play-offs. They currently lie in the relegation zone in 18th place and are one point away from safety.

"As I always say, I will never name-check any players. Everybody knows we've been looking for forwards - we're making progress," said Smith.

"Suso (Villa sporting director Jesus García Pitarch) is working very hard every day. Whether we'll have one in for Saturday, I'm not so sure yet. We're getting closer. The powers that be are working very hard so we can get a centre-forward on the pitch.

"I'm calm and confident that we'll get players in. That's for sure. We've got big games coming. If we don't get one in by Saturday it will be the third game in a row without a recognised striker. We have to make sure we do the best without that but hoping we can get one through.

"With Wesley getting injured and Keinan [Davis] being out it's an area we need to strengthen massively. We're looking for a couple."

Samatta is thought to be interested in moving to the Premier League and has caught the eye after scoring 20 goals in Genk's title-winning year last season.

Genk are now languishing in mid-table but he remains the vice-captain and is once again the Belgian champions' top scorer with seven goals.

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The Tanzania international has scored 20 goals in 56 games for his country, and he experienced the Champions League with his club this season.

Sander Berge is another player that could leave Genk in the near future after he admitted to being keen to move away from the struggling Belgian giants.

Chelsea, Liverpool and Napoli are all interested in Berge, but there are currently no active talks for the 21-year-old Norway star.