Victor Wanyama is the first Kenyan to play in the Premier League and also score in the Champions League in one of the biggest shocks in the competition.
While playing for Celtic the 23 year old scored against Barcelona in a 2-1 win which will go down in history as one of the club’s greatest victories in Europe. Although the defensive midfielder is not known for his goalscoring he has been a vital part to his club’s successes over the years.
Wanyama started his professional career in Belgium with Beerschot AC after a successful trial in the summer of 2008 and made his league debut towards the end of that season. His time in Belgium was mixed as he received a lot of praise for his performances but at times he was a little too aggressive and it did lead to him picking up a couple of red cards. It took him until the 11th December 2011 to score his first goal for the club as he equalised against Westerlo.
After a failed attempt the previous summer, Celtic signed the midfielder for £900,000 on the 9th July 2011. He straightaway became a fans favourite as he did a lot of research on the club after signing and chose the number 67 shirt to honour Celtic’s European Cup winning team of that year. He made his debut for the club in a disappointing 1-0 loss to St Johnstone in the unfamiliar position of centre back but he was soon moved to his best position and proved to be a quality player. His first goal was definitely worth the wait as he scored with a fantastic striker from 25 yards against Hearts in December. At the end of the month he was named the SPL Young Player of the Month.
He finished the season with four goals to his name and in the next campaign he went even better by getting nine goals in all competitions, including opening the scoring against Barcelona. It wasn’t long after this goal that Wanyama was being linked with moves away from the club and after he rejected a new contract it seemed inevitable he would leave the Scottish champions and in July 2011 he joined Southampton.
The manager Mauricio Pochettino was very impressed with his new signing and knew it could be key to helping the team climb the table. “I am very pleased to have secured the signing of Victor because we are a big admirer of his talents and he will fit in well to the team at Southampton. I’ve watched him perform at the top level in the Champions League, and I believe that he will be a valuable addition to our Premier League squad for the season ahead.”
Wanyama made his debut against West Brom but unfortunately could not have as much impact throughout the season as he struggled with a few niggling injuries and only ended up playing 24 games all season.
The final word can go to Neil Lennon. “I think Victor can play in any company. He is very consistent and you have to look at what he could develop into as well. He has been a great performer for us, he has adopted brilliantly to the British game.”