Three reasons why Victor Wanyama would be good Tottenham signing
Ned Bristow gives three reasons why Victor Wanyama would be good Tottenham signing
After the addition of Toby Alderweireld to defence and the ongoing pursuit of Saido Berahino up front, central midfield remains the glaringly obvious weakness in Spurs’ push for the top four. Ryan Mason and Nabil Bentaleb established themselves as Mauricio Pochettino’s first choice pairing last term, and, while few can knock them for effort, they certainly make up one of the weaker duos in the Premier League – or at least the top half of it. This season, Pochettino has attempted to shore things up by playing Eric Dier in front of the back four, but he and all connected with White Hart Lane can see the desperate need for a natural defensive midfielder. And a fix can be found on the south coast. Intimidating in stature, the 24-year-old Southampton man enjoyed a stellar season last year after overcoming injury problems that hampered his first stab the Premier League. Making the position his own, Wanyama overtook fan favourite Jack Cork in the pecking order, forcing him into a move to Swansea in search of first team football. With Morgan Schneiderlin now enjoying life in Manchester red, Wanyama has become a key figure for the Saints but could be tempted by Tottenham’s ambitions of regular European football in a new stadium.
Wanyama may be just 24-years-old, but he has already racked up over 200 first team appearances during spells at Belgian side Beerschot AC, Scottish champions Celtic and now Southampton. Last season saw him become one of the first names on the teamsheet at St Marys, the Kenyan helping form a protective blanket over the defence as the Saints finished 7th, giving them their highest finish in the Premier League era and a route to the Europa League qualifying rounds. It is this experience and consistency that would help push Spurs on to another level and fight for the 4th place spot that has eluded them for the past three seasons. While it would be harsh to say neither Mason nor Bentaleb are worthy of their places after helping Spurs to a fifth place finish last season, Pochettino would certainly relish the presence of Wanyama – a Kenyan international since the age of 15 and captain since 21 – as competition to his two holding midfielders. Furthermore, Wanyama’s discipline and willingness to sit back would allow Mason and/or Bentaleb to push forward and explore attacking positions that they lacked last season; the tandem scored just one Premier League goal between them last season.
3) Mauricio Pochettino
The Argentinian was the man to bring Wanyama to Southampton in June 2013, and will certainly be keen to link up with a player he trusts once more. Then aged 22, Wanyama struggled with injuries during his first season in the red and white stripes, but has since done more to warrant his £12.5m price tag under Ronald Koeman. Now enjoying success in London, Pochettino is keen to put the final touches to his squad building with Wanyama very much his type of high-pressing, quick-thinking defensive midfielder. The player would also be happy to work with Pochettino again, having spoken of his disappointment at the 43-year-old’s departure. There is also a mutual trust between the two, while Wanyama calls his former boss a “good manager” as well as a “great man.”