VICTOR Wanyama’s long-mooted move to Southampton was finally completed last night, with the midfielder leaving Celtic for a Scottish record fee reported to be £12.5 million.
After overcoming an apparent impasse in discussions, the highly-rated 22-year-old put pen to paper on a four-year deal at St Mary’s.
Southampton have broken their club transfer record to complete the signing, beating the £12 million they spent on Bologna’s Gaston Ramirez last summer.
Wanyama’s move dwarfs the £9.5 million Spartak Moscow paid Celtic for Aiden McGeady three years ago and it becomes the largest fee ever paid in Scottish football, breaking Rangers’ long-standing record £12 million outlay for Tore Andre Flo.
Wanyama had been with Celtic for two years, having arrived as a relative unknown from Belgian side Beerschot for what now looks a tremendous bargain at £900,000. Choosing the number 67 jersey in appreciation of the club’s legendary European Cup triumph, he quickly became a fans’ favourite.
Wanyama’s Champions League performances saw his stock rise markedly, leading to reported interest from Liverpool, Arsenal, Everton and Cardiff. The latter reportedly submitted a £10 million bid, but it is Southampton that have won his signature.
Wanyama told Southampton’s official website: “It feels great and I am happy to be here. There were other options but Southampton are a club with ambitions so I chose to come here and I’m looking forward to playing in the Premier League.
“I just want to train hard and work hard to be part of the starting line-up. The stadium looks great and I already know some of the players, so I’m hoping they will help me.
“This is a move which means a lot to me as it’s been a dream of mine to play in this league and now I am here.”
Wanyama’s new manager Mauricio Pochettino was equally delighted to have landed his man after lengthy negotiations, and said: “I am very pleased to have secured the signing of Victor because we are a big admirer of his talents and he will fit in well to the team here at Southampton.
“I want to stress that the deal could have been done sooner, but this shows that we do business on our terms. The most important thing is that ourselves, Celtic and the player are happy with the way it has all gone.
“The fact that a lot of top European clubs were also keen to sign him shows what an attractive prospect Southampton Football Club is to a player who had his pick of the teams in England and abroad.
“I’ve watched him perform at the top level in the Champions League, and I believe that he will be a valuable addition to our Premier League squad for the season ahead.”
Celtic, meanwhile, conclude their tour of Germany with a friendly against Union Berlin tonight before kicking off their Champions League qualifying campaign next week, and Kris Commons hopes to use the match to step up his fitness ahead of the new season.
The trip didn’t get off to the best of starts for the midfielder. Having picked up conjunctivitis from his son, the opening days were spent battling to even see properly, never mind fighting his way back to full fitness.
However, after starting the first two friendlies against Sevastopol and CFR Cluj, followed by a substitute appearance at half-time in the Gruether Furth game on Tuesday, he has felt the benefits in terms of building up match sharpness.
“It wasn’t nice,” Commons told the Celtic website. “It’s the first time I’ve had conjunctivitis and having hay fever at the same time just made it a nightmare.
“But like everyone here I want to get a lot out of the game tomorrow so we’ll start turning the screw a little bit – tighten up at the back and create more chances at the front.”
Commons knows results have been below par in Germany, but said: “I don’t think you can ever look too much into pre-season results, you don’t get three points for winning these games.”