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Celtic: Neil Lennon struck gold on Victor Wanyama

Celtic have proven themselves to be astute market operators under Ange Postecoglou of late, although it is not only under the 56-year-old in which the Parkhead outfit have secured notable bargains in recent times, with the last decade or so having seen other key deals struck in Glasgow.

One such coup was that of midfield colossus, Victor Wanyama, with the Kenyan brute having sparkled during his two-year stint with the Old Firm outfit, after arriving as a relatively unknown quantity from Belgian outfit, Beerschot in 2011.

Plucked for a fee of around £900k by then boss Neil Lennon, the imposing powerhouse went on to become a leading figure for the Hoops both domestically and in Europe, racking up 91 appearances across all competitions in just two seasons.

His respectable haul of 13 goals in that time from his defensive midfield berth included that header against La Liga giants Barcelona in November 2012, with the unfancied hosts upsetting the odds to secure a famous 2-1 victory over Lionel Messi and co at Celtic Park.

Such a commanding showing in a game of such magnitude only served to bolster the player’s already growing reputation, with Wanyama having rejected a new deal only weeks prior to that remarkable triumph amid rampant interest.

His time at the club came to an almost inevitable end at the end of the 2012/13 season as he was eventually snapped up by Premier League outfit Southampton, albeit with Lennon and co managing to soften the blow of his departure by raking in a £12.5m transfer fee – representing a remarkable profit of roughly £11.6m.

The Nairobi-born sensation was one of a spate of Hoops stars that would make the move to the Saints in the years that followed, with the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Fraser Forster and Stuart Armstrong all making the switch to St Mary’s.

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After an equally as impressive stint with the Saints – where he racked up 97 appearances in total – the 64-cap menace was then snapped up by Mauricio Pochettino at Tottenham Hotspur in 2016, again going on to feature 97 times for the north London outfit.

Lauded for his physical prowess and defensive strength, the 6 foot 2 titan also showcased a knack for the spectacular during his time in English football, notably netting a stunning strike in a 2-2 draw with Liverpool at Anfield in February 2018.

After falling out of favour during the end of his time with the Lilywhites, the £3.6m-rated ace had been linked with a return to Glasgow in January 2020, with reports suggesting that the two clubs were in talks regarding a deadline day swoop.

While Lennon – who had returned for his second spell in charge in 2019 – had seemingly been keen on a reunion with his former asset, the move ultimately never came to fruition, as he was subsequently snapped up by MLS side CF Montreal in March 2020, going on to make 83 appearances for the Canadian side to date.

Would you want Wanyama to return?





The 31-year-old did, however, admit back in November that he would be keen on an emotional return to his former club, with Celtic supporters no doubt likely to home a former hero with open arms.

If no move does occur, however, it can still be said that Wanyama proved a great piece of business for the club in the past, with Lennon managing to strike gold by raking in such a sizeable transfer fee.