NAIROBI, December 11- Yet another Arsenal legend, Ray Parlour, has sounded out Harambee Stars captain, Victor Wanyama, as a perfect fit for the Barclays Premier League title-chasing Gunners in the January transfer window; even comparing him to revered former captain, Patrick Vieira.
Speaking on SkySports News on Friday, Parlour echoed his 2004 ‘Invincibles’ team mate, Robert Pires who visited Kenya last week in backing Wanyama as a potential top target to manager Arsene Wenger in the winter window to plug the problematic defensive midfield role.
Calls for Wenger to splash the cash in January to buy cover has gathered currency in recent weeks following injuries to French national, Francis Coquelin and club captain, Mikel Arteta who play in defensive midfield.
A number of British publications including broadsheet The Independent and tabloid Mirror identified Southampton’s Wanyama as the top target for Wenger in January with Parlour giving him the ultimate praise- rating him alongside Vieira who led the Gunners to two Premier League and three FA Cup titles between 2002 and 2005.
“I know Wanyama has been mentioned from Southampton. (Morgan) Schneiderlin would have been a great signing last season but Manchester United got him. If a player is out there and is available and willing to make the squad’s strength a lot better, he (Wenger) will come (and) buy because we have seen that in the past.
“He’s a good player; he’s a young player as well. He’s a player who is comfortable on the ball, he’s efficient and he’s also a strong lad. So, it probably goes against what he’s (Wenger) been doing lately because he has buys a lot of little players who are good on the ball.
“He (Wanyama) would be more of a Patrick Vieira sort of player who I played with and that could be the difference this season,” the former England international who scored 22 goals in 339 appearances for Arsenal said on Sky.
Parlour’s famous long-range strike against Chelsea in the 2002 FA Cup final the Gunners won 2-0 earned him the ‘stingray’ nickname and finally gave him acclaim from the shadows of the former French international Vieira who marshalled Arsenal’s midfield like no other ever since.
“The player he (Wenger) desperately needs is a central midfielder. Lack of Coquelin, who’s probably out for up to two or three months now because they don’t have a holding midfielder.
“We know about the attacking style they’ve got, when Sanchez is on the field, Ozil, great players going forward. Buts it’s just that stability at times in games where they are a bit too open and teams take advantage of that,” the 1998 and 2002 double winner who left Arsenal after the ‘Invincible’ season of 2004 added.
In his weekend visit to the country, Pires said “Wanyama is now ready to come to Arsenal,” and latest media reports will increase speculation whether the Stars skipper will finally co0mplete his move to North London.
At the summer window, a proposed deadline day move to fierce rivals; Tottenham Hotspurs fell through with Saint’s manager, Ronald Koeman, dropping him from his squad for two games in August as the 24 year-old Kenyan pushed for the move.
According to the Daily Mirror, Wenger is desperate to strengthen in midfield with Coquelin, Santi Cazorla, Mikel Arteta, Jack Wilshere and Tomas Rosicky all out injured, while Aaron Ramsey and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are also injury-prone.
Wanyama had interested Wenger while he was still at Celtic.
Spurs had a £12million bid turned down by Southampton last summer.