Victor Wanyama

Victor Wanyama is a Kenyan central-midfielder who was born in Nairobi, Kenya on 25th June 1991. He is the brother of McDonald Mariga who has played for Inter and Parma among others. Wanyama has a couple of other siblings who have played football in the Kenyan League. His father represented AFC Leopards in the 1980s. Wanyama's sister played basketball professionally.

Wanyama played football barefoot as a child before he won a pair of boots. He signed for Kenyan Premier League side Nairobi City Stars in 2006, having spent three years at JMJ Youth Academy. Wanyama spent 2006/07 with AFC Leopards before moving to Helsingborgs in Sweden to link up with his brother Mariga. The Kenyan's stay in Scandinavia was brief. In 2008 he signed a four year deal with Belgian outfit Beerschot.

Wanyama played a single league match during 2008/09, before becoming a regular at Beerschot the following season. He impressed with some dynamic box-to-box displays, although he often found himself in trouble with referees, picking up a suspension for a nasty foul on Matias Suarez. The following campaign he was punished for an elbow on Brecht Dejaeghere. Despite these indiscretions, Wanyama continued to impress on the pitch. He was tracked by several clubs in Eastern Europe, but would eventually arrive at Celtic in July 2011, a club who had courted the player for over a year.

Celtic paid £900,000 to bring Wanyama to Parkhead. In a clever move to appease fans, the former Helsingborgs man picked 67 as his squad number, in honour of the year Celtic won the European Cup. Wanyama made his first appearance in a shock 1-0 home loss to St Johnstone on 21st August 2011. He dropped to the bench for the next couple of outings, but soon forced his way back into the starting line-up. He appeared for the club in the Europa League, and won an award for SPL Young Player of the Month for December. Wanyama scored his first Celtic goal that month, a thunderbolt in a win over Hearts. Further strikes over Dunfermline, Dundee United and Hearts helped the Bhoys to the 2011/12 league title. Wanyama had been sent off in an Old Firm defeat at Ibrox on 25th March 2012, but overall his first season in Glasgow was considered a success.

Wanyama's star would continue to shine during 2012/13. He picked up yet another red card in a Champions League qualifier with HJK Helsinki in August, but would more than make amends later in the same competition. Wanyama scored a header in a 2-1 win over Barcelona on 7th November 2012, one of the most famous nights at Parkhead. He regularly dominated the midfield domestically and in Europe, attracting attention from huge clubs across the globe. Wanyama picked up a league double, contributing important and spectacular goals against St Mirren and Dundee United among others. Speculation over the midfielder's long term future intensified throughout the campaign, however. Wanyama reportedly turned down a contract extension at Celtic in October 2012.

Wanyama completed his move to Southampton on 11th July 2013. The deal looked to be on the verge of collapse weeks earlier due to a reported dispute over agent's fees. Cardiff made a bid of their own, but the Kenyan eventually arrived at St Marys after all. Wanyama's first outing in Saints colours came on 17th July, a 2-1 friendly win over Llagostera. He impressed in pre-season and started the Premier League opener on 17th August at West Brom. Wanyama shone in the 1-0 win, using his strength to great effect. The Kenyan was proficient in shielding the back four, but also driving forward with the ball. He was criticised by some fans for his wayward passing and shooting early into his Southampton tenure, but few disregarded the impact he made defensively.