LONDON, England, July 12- Harambee Stars captain Victor Wanyama expressed his delight at joining Southampton FC as he made history as the first Kenyan to be signed by an English Premier League side two seasons after his elder brother, MacDonald Mariga’s switch to Manchester City fell through.
Wanyama’s rumoured record move from Glasgow Celtic culminated last evening and the player was officially unveiled by the club in a deal worth a reported 12.5 million pounds.
“Southampton Football Club is delighted to announce the signing of Kenya captain Victor Wanyama on a four-year contract,” the Saints website stated.
The industrious midfielder moves for an undisclosed fee from Scottish Premier League side Glasgow Celtic, where he won the title in 2011/12 and 2012/13 as well as last season’s Scottish Cup.
Wanyama was crowned as the SPL Young Player of the Year at the end of last season, during which he made 49 appearances and scored nine goals.
One of those goals came in the Hoops’ memorable win over Spanish giants FC Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League last November.
Wanyama’s signing is the latest demonstration of the Club’s plan to recruit young and talented players on long-term contracts, and follows on from the arrival of Croatia international Dejan Lovren last month.
“It feels great and I am happy to be here,” Wanyama said immediately after putting pen-to-paper at St Mary’s this evening.
“Finally it has happened and we’ve come to the end [of negotiations], so I am delighted. There were other options, but Southampton is a club with ambitions so I chose to came here.
“Southampton is a good club and it has good players, so I just want to train hard and work hard to be a part of the starting XI. We’ll see where that will take me.
“I’m very grateful to be here and I’m looking forward to playing in the Premier League.
“I’ve seen that the stadium is great and the dressing room is looking good, and I know some of the players. I hope they will help me and I think I will get along with the others, so it will be good.
“I am happy to be a part of Southampton’s squad. It means a lot because because it has been my dream to play in the Premier League and now I am here.”
First Team Manager Mauricio Pochettino was on hand to watch as his latest acquisition completed his transfer, and quickly expressed his happiness with the deal.
He 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 that ourselves, Celtic and the player are all 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.”
-Southampton FC website