We all know Youtube clips are pretty useless when it comes to assessing players- even Gabriel Obertan looked amazing on there- and while many of us will have seen Victor Wanyama in the Champions League, that may have been the only time we’ve seen the Kenya midfielder.
With United reportedly in the hunt for the man who ‘bossed Xavi and Iniesta’ we decided to ask a Celtic fan who watches young Victor week in week out, just how good the 21 year-old really is.
Richard Murray answered our questions on all things Wanyama.
First of all Richard tell us how long you’ve been following Celtic for?
Been a Celtic fan since birth essentially, 1987, attending first games in the 90s as a toddler. Adored the Tommy Burn’s side that feature Paolo Di Canio, Pierre van Hooijdonk, Andreas Thom & many other talented players.
I attend all mid-week games, I don’t hold a season ticket as I have always played on a Saturday and now I referee on Saturdays.
What sort of a player is Victor Wanyama?
Victor has everything you desire in a modern day centre midfielder, he’s quick, he’s strong, good in the air, good in the tackle & can shoot, as I say he has all the attributes.
Is he strictly a DM or can he fill other roles?
He can play anywhere through the middle, centre back, defensive midfield or in a more advance central role. His creativity is too good to simply brand him a defensive midfielder.
How important is he to Celtic?
His importance to Celtic domestically is not great, we have a couple of players who can fill his position quite comfortably (Scott Brown, Joe Ledley, Beram Kayal & new signing Thomas Rogic). Although his contribution cannot be denied, watch a handful of Celtic league games from this season and more often than not any neutral observer would pick out Wanyama as being head & shoulders above the rest. He is quite simply too good for the league.
His importance to Celtic is in the Champions League, he is a player who can dominate any opponent, not just by using his strength (which is adbundant) but by using his intelligent reading of the game. I have a memory of him robbing Iniesta of the ball on the edge of our own penalty area, spinning Xavi before motoring away from him towards the Barcelona half seemingly only taking 2 or 3 strides.
His ability to read the opposition and break up their attacks is fantastic, what sets him apart from our Captain (Scott Brown, who is also good at breaking up the play) is his ability to make an interception whilst retaining possesion and more often than not find a good pass to either the chest of Samaras, the feet of Hooper or into good space for our wingers to run onto. This is the difference between him & some of our other midfielders. What also works to his advantage is, if a pass isn’t on he has the strength and the touch to keep a hold of the ball until he can pick a pass, he never wastes possession.
With all due respect to Celtic, a move to the English Premier League is without doubt a big step up, do you think he’s capable of making the step up and if so why?
The step up won’t phase him, he has been regularly selected in the Uefa team of the week whilst on Champions League duty, bossed Xavi & Iniesta off the park at Celtic Park, I recall him also running the show against Wesley Sneider in pre-season (friendly or no friendly, no mean feat). It will not phase his, he has a good mentality.
What are his main attributes?
Main attributes are listed above, all round central midfielder. Perhaps slightly prone to diving in but 9 times out of 10 he times it correctly & when he doesn’t his pace allows him to recover.
If you had a criticism of Wanyama what would it be?
My criticism is that he has just stated he is a Man Utd supporter, we are technically still in the same competition as you so should have kept quiet about that. However most football fans from Africa tend to lean towards Man Utd (Global brand and all that!)
In the current climate what do you feel is a fair price for Wanyama- try not to be too biased!
Fair price would be £10 million (based on 2 years remaining on his contract). The minimum acceptable bid Celtic should accept should be set at around £8 million with sell on clauses, if there is a bidding war £12-15M. His potential future value could be anywhere upto £30M.
What do the fans think of Wanyama- does he have his own chant?
Adored by the fans, he has his own song which you will find on Youtube -we’ve posted it below, ed- , basically a repition of his name structured differently, quite entertaining.
If Wanyama was to come to Old Trafford do you think he’d make the first team?
Purely indicative of how Man Utd are at the moment, Fletcher out long term, Scholes best days behind him, Carrick I just don’t see as being a great player, Kagawa a weakling, Cleverley has potential, yes Victor would absolutely walk into the first team and improve it.
I would urge your fans not to doubt his ability as he is coming from the SPL, the last central midfielder to leave Celtic for EPL was Stillian Petrov who was Villa Captain and an absolute stand out in the EPL.
Many thanks Richard.