Just when Southampton were already dominating on the manicured greens of St. Mary’s turf, bating Newcastle United with a 2-0 lead, Victor Wanyama reaffirmed his place in Ronald Koeman’s team. The 24-year-old has been an important player for the club since joining, and has been especially vital during the past season. It’s hardly surprising that he’s already been linked with a move to Tottenham Hotspur in the summer..
It is this time of year that managers and scouts are meticulously eyeballing players from teams all across the divisions and national leagues, to try to plug gaps within their squads. Rumours circulate, price tags soar, records are broken. This is how the business of football operates. So, after Wanyama’s plucky ‘right place, right time’ goal during their home fixture against flailing Newcastle, it seems he is back on the wish-list of Mauricio Pochettino.
Southampton were triumphant against The Magpies, seizing a 3-1 result. Although Ronald Koeman admitted his players did not achieve perfection during the game, it was most likely that Southampton were going to beat the relegation zone regulars.
Shane Long netted the most deftly-handled, fortuitous shot within four minutes of action, which certainly set the tempo and egged Saints on for the course of the match. Heroic Italian striker, Graziano Pellè, also showed off his calibre by flicking in a second, on the 38th-minute. A fantastic pass from Dušan Tadić to Shane Long put them in pole position to flip the ball Pellè’s way and slot into the back of the net with ease.
It was then on the 55th minute that Wanyama was dogged and stopped his team from struggling in the goal mouth, firing another in and finally securing their third. This tallied Wanyama’s first goal of the season, which sits with the one assist he has nailed; this must have primed a thought in the mind of Pochettino, the former Saints boss and current Spurs leader.
Victor Wanyama was on the list of potential purchases for Spurs last year. Despite Pochettino’s revived enthusiasm, Koeman has asserted that he will be aiming to retain his midfielder. But, can he pull this off for another summer in a row? Saints have always been the sort of underdog team that play without major expectations of managers, pundits or even fans; their ability to play well now and really climb the league table ladder has been granted only by great management and a set of players that have gelled truly well. If key players are sold here and there, the flow and dynamism will be seriously reduced, and could well see Southampton take a Bournemouth-like route. Not ideal.
As much as Wanyama’s exit would be a blow for Southampton, it would be a top way to strengthen the midfield structure for Spurs. Pochettino will require someone to fill the boots of Eric Dier, or thereabouts, so Wanyama could be just the man. The service he supplies as a midfielder aids the defensive structure so much that it would be paramount in Champions League games. His role was also established and built upon by Pochettino, so he would know exactly how to manipulate that to the advantage of Spurs. The move would be a cohesive one.
Southampton do not seem to be so vocal about their thoughts for the transfer window. As per usual, Ronald Koeman’s clever calculations might mean that they would have a decent bid in the bag for another superb midfielder, should Victor Wanyama leave the club. However, at this stage, it is all circumstantial. What we do know is that, if he were sold, Southampton would be sure to feel the pinch.