Victor Wanyama: How the New Signing Affects Southampton's Lineup

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Victor Wanyama: How the New Signing Affects Southampton's Lineup
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Southampton made their second major signing of the summer transfer window, announcing they had completed a deal for Kenyan international midfielder Victor Wanyama.

The deal sees Wanyama move from Celtic for an undisclosed fee, rumored to be in the neighborhood of £12 million according to John Drayton of the Daily Mail.

"Finally it has happened and we've come to the end [of negotiations], so I am delighted," Wanyama said on the Southampton website. "There were other options, but Southampton is a club with ambitions so I chose to came [sic] here."

The addition of Wanyama makes for a crowded situation in midfield. Morgan Schneiderlin and Jack Cork were both established regulars in the defensive midfield last season. Not that the competition seems to unnerve the 22-year-old.

"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 11. We'll see where that will take me," Wanyama continued in his interview after signing.

Odds are that Wanyama will take the place of Cork in the defensive midfield. In seven Champions League appearances, the Kenyan averaged 4.0 tackles per match, more than double Cork's 1.9 tackles in Premier League play according to WhoScored. Wanyama's tackling rate is just behind Schneiderlin's 4.1 tackles per match, which ranked second in the Premier League last season.

Ian Walton/Getty Images
Jack Cork (left) may be the most likely Saint to lose playing time to Wanyama.

But just because Cork wouldn't be a regular in defensive midfield doesn't mean he won't start. He may find playing time at the right-wing position that was predominately played by Jason Puncheon.

The 24-year-old also filled in at right-back for Nathaniel Clyne when Clyne was injured last season. With Frazer Richardson's departure, there is little depth behind Clyne at right back right now.

Or Mauricio Pochettino could get a bit creative and employ all three midfielders at the same time. Schneiderlin certainly has the skills to play as an offensive midfielder. The Frenchman scored five goals and had a 85.2 percent pass completion rate, according to WhoScored. Only Steven Davis had a better rate, at 85.3 percent, among Southampton regulars.

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Such a deployment would move Gaston Ramirez out to the wing opposite Adam Lallana.

Certainly, it's hard to determine exactly how the Saints will line up on opening day against West Bromwich Albion until the date gets closer. Pochettino has a couple of other signings in mind before the transfer window closes.

But a team can never have enough depth, and Southampton certainly could use more of it.

 

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