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The Saints now lead the hunt to land Celtic's Kenyan midfielder after EPL newcomers Cardiff City dropped out of the race on Thursday night

Southampton have emerged as favourites to land midfielder Victor Wanyama after Cardiff dropped out of the race.

Saints have had a £12million bid accepted for the 22-year-old Celtic midfielder. And although Wanyama’s advisors rejected the personal terms on offer last month, boss Mauricio Pochettino is confident of persuading the Kenyan to move to St Mary’s.

According to Daily Mail, Pochettino’s hopes were boosted on Thursday night when Cardiff decided to walk away after a £10m bid was rejected by Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell.

Pochettino said: “It could happen. We are interested in two or three key players. One is Wanyama and I’m confident our goals will be met.”

Negotiations could now be resurrected after Cardiff, managed by former Parkhead defender Malky Mackay, had two offers for the powerful midfielder dismissed.

The first was a straight £10m bid, swiftly rejected by the SPL champions last week. The second arrived on Wednesday, retaining the payment of £10m in installments and adding on a 10 per cent sell-on clause.

Cardiff were prepared to break their own record outlay on Wanyama and believed the sell-on clause would have secured another £1m for Celtic at a later date.

The newly-promoted Welsh club had also reached an informal agreement with Wanyama’s agents over their cut and the player’s wages and sought permission to enter formal discussions.

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