Victor Wanyama departs Tottenham for MLS side Montreal Impact
Kenyan international midfielder Victor Wanyama secured a move to MLS side Montreal Impact last night, after being released by Tottenham Hotspur due to limited playing time. This follows on from speculation that the former English Premier League defensive midfielder has reportedly instructed his agent to find him a new club during January transfer window.
The Tottenham player, who has found himself surplus to requirements under the club's newest manager Jose Mourinho, had 18 months remaining on his contract with the Lilywhites and was rumoured at one point to be making a sensational return to his former club Celtic with betting sites last night predicting his imminent departure.
The 28-year-old Nairobi-born player has been with Spurs since 2016 and has played in 69 games, scoring 6 goals. It was understood that Celtic wanted to bring back their former player, reuniting Wanyama with the Scottish club that he spent a two-year spell between 2011 and 2013. During that time, he played 61 games for the Scottish Premier League champions, scoring 10 times. Canadian side Montreal Impact who scooped in to sign Wanayama on a three-year contract, will no doubt please Thierry Henry, the ex-Arsenal striker has been the manager of Montreal Impact since mid-November 2019. The Kenya captain is reported to say last night “I’m really happy to join an exciting club like the Montreal Impact, the MLS continues to grow every season and I’m looking forward to bringing further awareness to this team, city and league across Africa.
"When I spoke to Thierry [Henry] and he told me he wanted me to join him in Montreal, I didn’t have to think twice. He has always been a player that I’ve admired, and I am really happy to get the opportunity to work with him and to play a part that can ensure that the Montreal Impact have an improved season and hopefully reach the ultimate stages of the competitions in which we compete. I think the Saputo family and the management team in Montreal have a great plan in place and I am hoping I can make a great contribution to the success of this project.”
Just two weeks ago, Wanyama qualified for British citizenship, which will instantly make his signature a more appealing prospect for any European side looking to sign a combative defensive midfielder. It has also been noted that the player's brother, Harry Wanyama, commented to the press recently on a potential move: “It’s a normal thing for a footballer to get British citizenship after playing or staying in the country for at least five years. Victor’s agent Ivan Modia will announce whether he will be leaving Spurs or not and which club. He is to make the announcement in two or three days.”
Whilst Celtic were in pole position to re-sign their former player, a number of other European sides were also in the race to sign the defensive midfielder. Amongst those included were high-flying Italian side Atalanta, their Serie A rivals Genoa and Dutch duo Ajax and Feyenoord. Whilst no concrete bids ever materialised, Spurs' chairman Daniel Levy has recently informed manager Jose Mourinho that he must clear out his current squad if he is to add any new faces during the upcoming summer transfer window.
Wanyama has certainly put Kenyan football on the map in Europe, and the player - who has 60 caps to his name and a further 7 international goals - is widely considered as one of the best players to have come from Africa over the past decade.
Wanyama will no-doubt be delighted to have finally got his move away from the Tottenham Hotspur stadium. The Kenyan had agreed terms with Belgian side Club Brugge back in the summer of 2019, but the deal broke down after the player opted to stay in England and fight for his place, after being given assurances by Spurs' former coach Mauricio Pochettino. Pochettino would later head for the exit door, with Mourinho being brought in as his replacement.