Why Samatta snubbed chance to face Messi and sign for Royal Antwerp
Goal understands two French Ligue 1 sides were also interested to sign the Taifa Stars forward but he turned them down
Tanzania captain Mbwana Samatta had two offers from France but he opted to return to Belgium with Royal Antwerp, Goal can exclusively reveal.
The 28-year-old made a transfer switch on deadline day returning to Belgium from Fenerbahce of Turkey for the rest of the season and with an option for Antwerp to make the move permanent.
However, a close source to the player has confirmed to Goal two clubs from French Ligue 1 – Troyes and Montpellier – had tabled offers for his services.
Had Samatta made the move to France, he would have had the opportunity to play against Paris Saint-Germain, who recently signed Lionel Messi from Barcelona.
But according to the source, Antwerp gave Samatta a better offer he could not turn down.
“He landed in Belgium on Tuesday for tests, and then signed for Royal [Antwerp], after which I think he will join the national team for the World Cup qualifiers,” the source, who did not want to be named, told Goal.
“It’s not a bad thing for him to return to Belgium where he has made a name for himself but what played a huge role for him to return is the fact, Antwerp offered him a good deal, and he could not turn it down.
“It was a difficult choice for him to make and all this happened on deadline day, Troyes and Montpellier also enquired about his services, and he had two choose between the three clubs, his heart settled on a return to Belgium.”
It has been reported the former Aston Villa striker’s transfer cost Antwerp €4million and Goal understands, Montpellier had put on the table 2.5 million euros for the signature of the player.
Samatta will be making a comeback to the Belgian Pro League having played for KRC Genk, who he helped to win the league on two occasions before he moved to Aston Villa and then was loaned out to Fenerbahce.
Since joining the Turkish Super Lig outfit from the Premier League side, Samatta struggled in front of goal, and in the 2020-21 campaign; he scored just five times after making 27 league appearances.