If the rumour mill is to be believed, Tottenham appear to be on the verge of completing their first transfer of the summer as the club look likely to complete an £11m deal for Southampton’s midfield powerhouse Victor Wanyama.
Wanyama, who joined Southampton in 2013 under the reign of current Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino, has appeared to be keen on a Southampton exit for an extended period of time as he desperately looks to secure a place at a club that can guarantee Champions League football.
With just one year remaining on his contract and Ronald Koeman having recently vacated his position at the helm of Saint Mary’s Stadium, a move away from the south coast seems more than likely to be on the Kenyan’s agenda.
So what would Wanyama bring to the Tottenham party?
Having previously brought the 24 year old to Premier League, Pochettino will undoubtedly be aware of the midfielder’s quality and will be the man best placed to draw conclusions on his suitability for the club. With Pochettino’s system and ideology not having changed during his time in England, it seems indisputable that he would fit seamlessly into the club.
A statistical analysis of Wanyama’s game over 2015/16 highlights that he is likely to be a greater threat to Eric Dier’s position within the team than the indispensable Mousa Dembele, who represents elite pass completion, key passes, take on, successful duels and tackles won statistics that Wanyama simply cannot compete with.
Whilst Wanyama appears either comparative or better than Eric within the areas of successful passes, successful take-ons and total duels, Eric boasts a significantly better record in the key defensive statistics of interceptions, blocks and aerial duels. A statistical analysis also fails to accurately represent the benefits that Dier’s overall play and exceptional sense of positioning brings to the team.
The only notable weakness within the Kenyan midfielder’s arsenal would be his scoring record, which can be best described as ‘goal shy’, having only netted four times during his 80 appearances in the Premier League. However, with Eric Dier and Dembele contributing a whopping six goals between them during 2015/16 (please note the subtle notes of sarcasm laced in that statement), it can at least be noted that this is not a significant requirement of the central midfielders within the Pochettino system.
With the quite often maligned academy products Tom Carroll and Ryan Mason seemingly failing to make an impact upon the Tottenham first team, Victor Wanyama would undoubtedly represent a significant step up in quality over the two Englishmen. The Kenyan also brings the level of physical presence that Pochettino seems to favour, in line with the likes of Eric Dier, Mousa Dembele and Dele Alli.
The end of season collapse brought the lack of depth within the midfield area firmly into the spotlight. With Champions League football now on the agenda in 2016/17, one would be permitted to believe that Pochettino will need at least one additional midfielder that he can depend upon to rotate with his current options and Wanyama would undoubtedly represent a step up in quality over the player’s currently available to him.
Wanyama’s midfield masterclass vs. Chelsea
The move seems a clear indication that Pochettino has clearly identified the areas within his squad that he would like to improve upon and is keen on getting his business done early in the window as he looks towards a pre-season period in which he can fully shape his squad– don’t expect any Berahino shaped debacles this summer.
The signing of an experienced midfielder of Wanyama’s quality, at a relatively modest fee, will represent a sizeable improvement within the midfield area come the start of the 2016/17 season. With time on his side, the midfielder could prove to be at the heart of Pochettino’s plans for a long time to come.
And who wouldn’t want such a spaghetti aficionado at the club?
Written by Joe Thomas
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