ARSENAL midfielder Aaron Ramsey last night urged Arsene Wenger to snap up Celtic midfielder Victor Wanyama.
The Kenyan is back in his homeland preparing for this week’s crunch World Cup showdown against Nigeria in Nairobi but Wanyama has been linked with a £10 million move to the Premier League with Arsenal, Stoke City and Newcastle United all believed to be interested in luring him from Scotland to England this summer.
And Wales international Ramsey is hoping Arsenal’s summer transfer spree begins with a move for the highly-rated 21-year-old.
Speaking in an interview in Kenya to promote their tourism trade, Ramsey was asked about the prospect of Wanyama joining the Gunners.
He said: “Of course, I don’t have a say on who joins us at the Emirates but if at all Arsenal get to sign Victor Wanyama, I will be the first to welcome him.
“I have watched him play for Celtic, I watched him score against Barcelona and I think he is a great player. Whether he will join us is for other people to decide.
“He name has been all over the British press. He is one player I have read many clubs in England are chasing and I have no doubt he has great talent if top clubs in England are interested in him. For a Kenyan to win the Young Player of the Year award in Scotland, it means a lot. It shows that there is great football potential in this country. Before I saw him play, all I knew of Kenya was its wildlife, athletics and the Rugby Sevens squad!”
Newcastle United are keen to beat Arsenal and Stoke in the race to sign Wanyama – and they could use St Mirren League Cup winners Conor Newton and Paul Dummett as makeweights in a deal for the £9m-rated midfielder.
Midfielder Newton, 21, made his debut for the Buddies in their 3-2 semi-final win over Celtic in January and man-marked Wanyama out of the game. He went on to score the decisive goal in their 3-2 victory over Hearts in the final. Newton and left-back Dummett, a Wales Under-21 star who spent the whole season on loan in Paisley, have both been offered new one-year deals to stay at St James’ Park. However, they understand that first-team opportunities will be limited under Alan Pardew and a move to Parkhead would appeal.
“They both made a massive impact up in Scotland,” said the players’ agent, Spencer Downey. “St Mirren are really keen to keep them, but there has been interest from other clubs, including Celtic. Celtic are one of those clubs who, if you do well against them, they keep an eye on you. Conor did particularly well in midfield against Victor Wanyama and Joe Ledley.
“They haven’t ruled out St Mirren yet, though. St Mirren have shown their desire to both players.”
Pardew’s interest in Wanyama could tempt Celtic to cash in, with Newton and Dummett adding depth to manager Neil Lennon’s squad.
Meanwhile Allan McGregor’s hopes of moving to the Premier League with Hull City have received a boost.
The Scotland and former Rangers goalkeeper, who looks set to leave Besiktas this summer, is a target for Hull along with Leicester City goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel. Hull have made a bid of £1.25m for Danish international Schmeichel but that has been rejected by Leicester, who want at least £4m.
McGregor, who moved to Turkey last summer after quitting newco Rangers, is on offer for around £1m and, with Leicester playing hard ball over the fee for Schmeichel, Hull are now set to firm up their interest in McGregor.