x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Arsenal ready to make bid for Celtic's Victor Wanyama

Manager Arsene Wenger has the Kenyan midfielder scouted for the third time this pre-season.

Victor Wanyama, left, in action for Celtic against Norwich City during a friendly on Wednesday. Mark Runnacles / Getty Images
Victor Wanyama, left, in action for Celtic against Norwich City during a friendly on Wednesday. Mark Runnacles / Getty Images

Arsene Wenger is considering lodging an offer with Celtic for Victor Wanyama as he prepares to add two more signings to his squad ahead of the coming season.

Arsenal's manager had the young Kenya international watched for the third time in eight days as the Scottish champions met Inter Milan yesterday as part of the Scottish champions 125th anniversary celebrations.

Wanyama, who requested the No 67 shirt in honour of the Lisbon Lions when he joined Celtic last summer, has been assessed by senior scouts Steve Rowley, Pat Rice and Francis Cagigao in rapid succession.

An intelligent passer of the ball with good positional sense who thrived in European competition last season, the powerful African is seen as a potential midfield enforcer who could also provide central defensive cover.

The 21 year old is also considered a more economical and manageable alternative to Yann M'Vila, the France midfielder whose off-field behaviour is viewed with concern within Arsenal's scouting section.

A €1 million (Dh4.6m) acquisition from Germinal Beerschot, Wanyama is understood to be valued at £10m (Dh57m) by Celtic, who rebuffed an inquiry from Queens Park Rangers at the beginning of the current transfer window.

Celtic's recruitment model, though, is to sign young foreign talent overseas then use European football as a shop window to sell at a profit and Wanyama has already indicated his desire to progress to a higher level.

"I'm proud that I'm the first Kenyan player to play in the UK and I'd be very happy also to be the first Kenyan to play in the Premier League," Wanyama told The National earlier this summer. "I think the Premiership is the dream of so many players, so I'd be happy to play there. There are a lot of good clubs in England.

"I've been happy here, and the fans have been brilliant with me. But it would not be a terrible thing for me if the club agree to let me go, and they get a good offer."

City rivals Rangers' expulsion to the Scottish Third Division has increased concerns that his development might be stalled by a second season in the Scottish Premier League.

Manchester United have also scouted Wanyama in pre-season, though their interest is not as advanced as Arsenal.

Wenger is hopeful of completing the disposal of at least one of the players deemed surplus to requirements in the coming week, opening up Premier League squad registrations and salary for new recruits.

Arsenal are also considering signing a creative midfielder.

They have explored the possibility of exploiting Santi Cazorla's dissatisfaction at Malaga's internal disorganisation, but the Qatari-owned club are unlikely to sell the Spain international.

A long-standing interest in Nuri Sahin has been encouraged by Real Madrid, who would like to move the Turkey international on to facilitate Luka Modric's arrival from Tottenham.