x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Celtic's Victor Wanyama open to Premier League move

Newcastle United, Queens Park Rangers and Stoke City are all considering formal offers with the Scottish club for the Kenyan midfielder.

Celtic's Victor Wanyama, left, holds off the challenge of Dunfermline's Gary Mason. David Moir / Reuters
Celtic's Victor Wanyama, left, holds off the challenge of Dunfermline's Gary Mason. David Moir / Reuters

Celtic face the prospect of losing Victor Wanyama to England's Premier League this summer after the highly regarded Kenya international asked the Scottish champions to consider offers for his transfer.

Wanyama, a €1 million (Dh4.8m) acquisition from the Belgian side Beerschot last year, has gathered the attentions of several of Europe's elite clubs with a series of impressive performances in domestic and continental competition.

A muscular 1.88 metres tall with strong technique and a good tactical awareness, Wanyama, 21, is seen as a combination of Michael Essien and John Obi Mikel by leading scouts who believe the midfielder could develop into a Champions League regular.

In the current window, though, he is more likely to make a stepping stone move to a mid-ranked Premier League side.

The younger brother of the Inter Milan's Champions League-winning midfielder McDonald Mariga, he is valued at around £7 million (Dh40.3m).

Newcastle United, Queens Park Rangers and Stoke City are all considering formal offers with the Scottish club.

Newcastle regard Wanyama as a replacement for Cheick Tiote should they achieve their £20m asking price for the Ivorian.

QPR need to restructure a top-heavy squad who barely escaped relegation last term, and Stoke want to reduce the age of their playing staff.

"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. "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.

"It will be difficult to leave Celtic because I have just had a good season here and we are playing the Champions League now.

"Celtic are one of the biggest teams. 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. They are the ones who decide."

Wanyama made more than 40 appearances in his debut season at Celtic, establishing himself in the team during a period in which Neil Lennon's job as manager was under threat after a troubled start to the club's campaign.

Though the Kenyan's preferred position is in the centre of midfield, he was also used as a centre back, a role he fears he would be asked to play more frequently in the coming season as Lennon seeks to provide starting berths for more senior midfielders.

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