x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Celtic's Kenyan midfielder Victor Wanyama denied QPR move

Premier League club have now turned attention to Marseille's M'Bia as transfer deadline looms.

Celtic's Kenyan midfielder Victor Wanyama. Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images
Celtic's Kenyan midfielder Victor Wanyama. Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images

Glasgow Celtic have rejected an offer from Queens Park Rangers for the Kenya international Victor Wanyama, who has been informed he will not be allowed to leave the Scottish champions in the present transfer window regardless of substantial interest from England.

QPR proposed a deal worth more than £6 million (Dh34.8m) to Celtic for the powerfully built central midfielder at the beginning of this week only to be told Wanyama was not for sale. QPR subsequently readjusted their targets and are working on a deal for the Cameroon international Stephane M'Bia.

Wanyama was told of Celtic's decision ahead of a crucial Champions League qualifying tie with Helsingborgs on Wednesday. Although upset at being denied the opportunity to fulfil his ambition to become the first Kenyan to play in the Premier League, the 21 year old resolved to focus on the European tie, and scored in a 2-0 victory.

Extensively scouted by Arsenal, Manchester City and Manchester United among other major Champions League sides, Wanyama is expected to be the subject of further offers in the January window. The quality of his play both in his preferred position as a holding midfielder and in the centre of defence coupled with a relatively low wage influenced Celtic's decision not to sell, as did the £5.5m collected for transferring Ki Sung-yeung to Swansea City this month.

Though five years older than Wanyama, M'Bia shares several characteristics with his fellow African, and is also capable of playing in front of the defence or operating in the heart of it.

Negotiating his move from Marseille has been complicated by Joey Barton's desire to move in the other direction, with QPR officials unsure as to whether it can be completed before tonight's deadline. Their efforts to secure Rolando on a season loan from Porto have been stymied by the Portugal central defender's reluctance to change clubs. Porto, though, are keen to remove the 26 year old from their wage bill.

The London club has also agreed a fee with Real Madrid for the creative midfielder Esteban Granero. QPR will pay less than £4m for the former Spain Under 21 international who was a popular figure with the Madrid support despite a failure to ever fully establish himself in Jose Mourinho's preferred eleven.

QPR's comprehensive overhaul of a first-team squad that barely survived its first season back in the Premier League following an erratic final week spend last August, has now seen 16 players depart the club and nine arrive.


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