It came out of the blue, just a couple days after the MLS schedule took off for the next season, but Montreal Impact has made a noteworthy signing.
Victor Wanyama, who played for Tottenham Hotspurs since 2016, joined the Canadian side, coached by Thierry Henry, who plays in the MLS table.
Wanyama is a defensive midfielder and also captain of the Kenyan national team. Victor is 6 ft 2 in (1,88m) and he is 28 years old. It was expected that Wanyama was leaving Spurs, as he was rarely called and lost even more squad space since the arrival of Ndombele.
However, many were expecting him to move to another country in Europe or maybe the Chinese Super League. Perhaps due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus, Wanyama took a turn to the MLS, where he will join the Montreal team, competing in the MLS since 2012.
Victor signs a 3-year contract with Impact, a team that finished ninth in the MLS Eastern Conference table, missing the playoffs for a tight margin (the eight placed team qualifies to the playoffs). Throughout the last 4 years, the midfielder made 97 appearances for Spurs, scoring 7 goals.
The athlete confessed Thierry Henry’s intervention was crucial for the transference. “When I spoke to Thierry and he told me he wanted me to join him in Montreal, I didn’t have to think twice”, he confessed to Montreal’s website.
The Kenyan soccer player will join other ‘European stars’, such as Bojan Krkic, former Barcelona and Stoke City forward and Saphir Taider, Algerian midfielder who played in Inter and Bologna.
Montreal Impact started their MLS opening weekend by defeating New England Revolution 2-1. Romell Quioto and Maximiliano Urruti scored for the hosts, who had to come back after an early goal from Teal Bunbury.
Who is Victor Wanyama?
Born in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, Wanyama showed a talent for football at an early age. He joined his high school team and after that, he joined a football academy, until signing for Kenyan Premier League team Nairobi City Stars.
He then moved on to AFC Leopards, until he finally had his breakthrough into European football. It was in 2007, when he joined the academy side of Helsingborg, from Sweden.
However, he would return to Kenya after his brother, who is also a soccer player, moved to Parma, in Italy. Victor’s brother McDonald Wanyama, who is 36, plays currently in Real Oviedo, in the 2nd division of Spain.
Nonetheless, he had quite an interesting career, playing in Inter Milan and being the first Kenyan player to feature on a UEFA Champions League game.
Back to Victor, he finally had his first professional contract, at the age of 18, signing with Belgian team Beerschot. He made 51 appearances for the club before Celtic Glasgow signed him in 2011.
In Scotland, he won the only silverware until date: two Scottish Premier League and one Scottish Cup. One of his most iconic moments was his goal against Barcelona, in the 2×1 victory of Celtic against the Catalan giants.
In 2013, Southampton paid £12.5 million to sign the Kenyan midfielder. He would on to make 83 appearances for the Saints, becoming the first player from Kenya to play on the Premier League.
As Mauricio Pochettino left Southampton for Spurs, the coach recommended the player in 2016. Wanyama joined Tottenham for £11 million, being runner-up of the Champions League in 2019.
Quite a consistent player in the first seasons, the constant knee injuries reduced his game time. Nonetheless, Wanyama is still 28 years old and, if he stays fit, will very likely make a big impact in Montreal and the MLS table.