Villa closing in on new signing as Kodjia move confirmed

Aston Villa

Jonathan Kodjia has left Aston Villa to join Qatari club Al Gharafa on a two-and-a-half year deal as the club's striker search goes on.

France Football are reporting Kodjia, who had also been linked with Nottingham Forest, has chosen to continue his career in the Middle East.

And Al Gharafa tweeted that will be presented to the media at a press conference scheduled for Sunday at 3:30pm at the club’s headquarters.

The 30-year-old was not in Villa’s matchday squad on Saturday for the 1-1 Premier League draw at Brighton as he was finalising his move to Al Gharafa.

The fact that boss Dean Smith was happy to let him go, despite being without any recognised striker this weekend because of Wesley Moraes’ injury, says it all about Kodjia’s fall from favour at Villa Park.

The Ivory Coast international bagged nine goals in 41 appearances for Villa as they earned promotion from the Championship last season, but failed to open his account in the top flight.

Smith has opted to deploy winger Anwar El Ghazi up top for the last three games after Kodjia seemingly failed his audition in the FA Cup third-round defeat to Fulham on January 4.

Kodjia’s contract at Villa Park was due to expire at the end of the current season and the club will at least recoup some of the £11million fee they shelled out to sign him from Bristol City in 2016.

His new coach will be former Fulham and Watford boss Slavisa Jokanovic, who has led Al Gharafa to fourth place in the Qatari Super League.

Meanwhile, Villa are closing in on the capture of striker Mbwana Samatta from Racing Genk for a reported fee of £10million.

Speaking after his side’s draw with Brighton on Saturday, Smith said: “We’re getting very close. The paperwork’s just getting ticked off with Samatta and, if we get that done, we’ll be really pleased. He’s a good player and, on top of that, he’s a good character as well.”