Victor Wanyama: What does the future hold?

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The Kenya midfielder struggled to build on his successful maiden season at Tottenham Hotspur, but can he regain his former standing?

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Victor Wanyama became an instant hero at Tottenham Hotspur after arriving at the club from Southampton two seasons ago.

Reunited with Mauricio Pochettino, his powerful midfield displays became a key feature of Spurs’ campaign as they finished second in the 2016-17 season.

However, a downturn in fortunes last term reduced his role at the club, and ahead of the coming season, he faces a battle to reclaim his former standing within the team.


The story of last season


Victor Wanyama, Kelechi Iheanacho

After playing for 3016 minutes across 36 appearances during his maiden campaign at Spurs, Wanyama’s impact was greatly reduced last term.

He featured for just 839 minutes across 18 appearances, of which eight were from the start, and became something of a peripheral figure in Pochettino’s squad.

Largely, this was due to injury, as the Kenya powerhouse didn’t feature between late August and early January after picking up a knee problem.

Wanyama | 2017-18 Premier League stats

As he steadily returned to full fitness, there were occasional displays of the kind of dominance that he demonstrated in his maiden campaign in London — notably in victories over Bournemouth and Newcastle United.

However, his defensive output was significantly reduced, with Wanyama averaging 1.7 tackles and 0.6 interceptions per match, compared to 2.5 and 1.1 the season before.

At least he did enjoy arguably his most memorable moment in a Spurs shirt to date, netting a thunderous goal in the 2-2 draw against Liverpool which won him the Goal of the Season award.


What could happen this window?


Victor Wanyama.

Unlike some of the other players set to be showcased in Goal’s ‘What does the future hold?’ series, Wanyama hasn’t been the subject of too much intense transfer speculation this window.

Indeed, the sensible money is on him staying at Spurs for a third campaign.

However, there have been intermittent rumours, and surely some of Europe’s heavyweights will be keeping tabs on a player who’s no longer a regular starter for the Lilywhites.

Reports in the British press in recent months suggest that Borussia Dortmund are monitoring the player, while Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United were all suggested to be keeping tabs on the East African last term.

Will any of Spurs’ Premier League rivals attempt to try their hand before the window slams shut?


What to expect next season


Raila Odinga and Victor Wanyama.

Barring any major midfield injuries for the various sides linked to Wanyama, it’s hard to see him leaving Tottenham in the coming weeks.

Expect him to remain at the club beyond the close of the transfer window, although his long-term future may come under greater scrutiny if he cannot force his way back into Pochettino’s starting XI.

Again, Tottenham will be fighting on many fronts, while after a full preseason, Big Vic should be fit and raring to go.

Eric Dier, Moussa Sissoko, Dele Alli, Mousa Dembele and Harry Winks represent stern midfield contribution, but a rotating starting XI should give Wanyama ample opportunity to reaffirm his authority in the heart of the park.

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Expect to see Wanyama marshalling the midfield with a power and presence that’s almost unrivalled in the Prem, and Spurs will be stronger for it.

They conceded just 26 goals in the top flight — the best defensive record in the division — during his maiden season, but that number swelled to 36 without him last term.

Now 27 and in his prime, we’re tipping the Kenya captain to make up for last time and register his best season yet.

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