Muskwe’s EPL dream in limbo PARTING WAYS... Zimbabwe national team striker Admiral Muskwe (left) has been linked with a loan move away from recently-promoted English Premiership side Luton Town while Marvelous Nakamba (right) has since returned to Aston Villa following the expiry of his loan deal.

Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter

ZIMBABWEAN forward Admiral Muskwe may have to wait a bit longer before playing English Premier League football after it emerged he could be sent out on loan again, to play League One football, by his recently-promoted topflight side Luton Town.

Reports in England suggested that League One side Barnsley were keeping a keen eye on the 24-year old striker with the hope of getting him to shore up their campaign in the English third-tier.

According to Sunday Mirror Sports Editor Darren Witcoop, the Tykes are keen on a move this summer for the Zimbabwe international, who is set to be on the fringes of the Hatters squad once again in the 2023-24 season.

The Zimbabwean spent last season on loan at League One outfit Fleetwood and only returned to Luton Town at the back end of their successful campaign in the Championship.

Muskwe, who had featured in only two games before his loan spell late last year, played no further part upon his return in January, as Luton Town found their way back to English topflight football for the first time in three decades without him.

However, compatriot Marvelous Nakamba was heavily involved in the fairy-tale, which culminated in the famous play-off victory over Coventry at the iconic Wembley Stadium recently.

Nakamba has enjoyed a sensational turnaround from a largely unhappy stint with Villa last season, when he struggled to regain his form after suffering a knee injury in December 2021. The midfielder joined Luton Town on deadline day of the January transfer window from Villa and the move to the second-tier turned out to be magical.

Nakamba went on to start 19 games for the club in the Championship and marked his final appearance of his loan spell by helping Rob Edwards’ side seal promotion to the Championship in the play-off final last month.

Luton Town could be interested in getting his signature on a permanent basis following his massive contributions to the team.

Nakamba has since reverted to Villa but could be coming back to Luton Town if the two clubs agree on a transfer fee during the off-season.

Apparently, Aston Villa manager Unai Emery has no plans to reintegrate Nakamba back into the team this summer, according to a report from The Athletic.

Nakamba’s contract at Villa Park is set to run until 2024, and thus the Hatters will need to pay a reasonable fee in order to secure his services on a full-time basis.

Making reference to a potential return to Luton, Nakamba recently admitted that he is hoping that a deal could be done, in his response to the fans during the team’s open-top bus celebration.

“Hopefully!” he said then.

“You can never say never in life, only God knows the future.

“Now I’m happy, we are celebrating, hopefully, you never know. I just have to celebrate now with Luton and hopefully for the best outcome that will come, I will be grateful for it.”

With Nakamba being surplus to requirements at Villa, Luton should be looking to step up their pursuit of the midfielder by submitting an offer for him.

The 29-year-old could be guaranteed of English Premiership football again next season if the negotiations yield results.

But the same cannot be said of Muskwe, who grew up in the Leicester City ranks from the age of nine years before taking a few steps down the ladder of English football in search of first team game time.

The striker signed his first professional contract in 2016 at the King Power Stadium but was never handed a chance in the Leicester City first-team, spending his career with the Foxes in the under-18’s, under-23’s and out on loan.

He had his first go at first team football in January 2020 when signing for Swindon Town of League Two on loan for the rest of the 2019-20 season, but managed just five appearances off the bench before Covid-19 curtailed the campaign.

A big step up came for Muskwe in 2020-21 as he joined Wycombe Wanderers of the Championship on loan for the second half of that season, and he netted three times in 19 appearances for the Chairboys, who were unable to retain their status in the second tier of English football.

Luton took a chance on Muskwe in 2021 following his Championship appearances, signing him for an undisclosed fee from Leicester and he went on to play 23 times in all competitions in his debut season, although he only scored two goals.

And having played just three times for Luton in the first half of the 2022-23 season, Muskwe was sent out on loan to League One outfit Fleetwood Town where he scored three times in 12 third tier appearances — including one against Barnsley.

“His time at Luton looks to be pretty much over following their promotion to the Premier League and with Barnsley a club on the up and one that should be one of the favourites to be promoted from League One next season, Oakwell could be a good landing spot for Muskwe, whether he is wanted on a permanent or loan deal,” reported the Football League World this week.

As a result, Muskwe is set for another loan spell at Barnsley, with League One rivals eyeing the Zimbabwean, who scored three goals and an assist during his last loan spell with Fleetwood.

Barnsley missed out promotion into the Sky Bet Championship after losing a play-off final to Sheffield Wednesday at the Wembley Stadium last week.

The heartbreak that Barnsley suffered at Wembley last week is perhaps still raw for their supporters, but in the next few weeks’ preparations will begin for the club to go again in League One next season.

Michael Duff’s side were desperately unlucky in the play-off final but they are well-placed with their current squad to launch an assault on the automatic promotion spots in 2023-24.

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