Star midfielder Vincent Wanyama has secured a move away from Southampton, joining Tottenham Hotspur.
The club confirmed the move on Thursday:
Tottenham Hotspur @SpursOfficial
We are delighted to announce that we have completed the transfer of @VictorWanyama from Southampton. #WelcomeWanyama https://t.co/kLbVoNv4Vw2016-6-23 19:59:55
The Saints noted the move is for an undisclosed fee.
The 24-year-old had been linked with a move away from the club since last summer, when he openly admitted he wanted to join Arsenal, per Tom Dutton of the London Evening Standard.
A move never materialised, and he played out the 2015-16 campaign at St Mary's, starting 29 Premier League contests, per WhoScored.com. Once again, the Kenya international dominated the physical battles in midfield, playing a key role in Southampton's sixth-placed finish.
Wanyama is not a player who contributes much to the attack—he scored just one goal in the Premier League—but as a defensive enforcer, there were few better in England last season. He averaged 3.1 tackles and 2.3 interceptions while completing more than 82 per cent of his passes.
Such production was bound to catch the eye of bigger clubs, and with Wanyama opening the door for a move as early as last year, Saints faced a real struggle keeping hold of their star man. Last summer, the sale of Morgan Schneiderlin to Manchester United all but ruled out a transfer of Wanyama, but the emergence of James Ward-Prowse means Southampton have a replacement ready this time around.
Ward-Prowse is seen as a top talent, and the sale of Wanyama opens the door for him to establish himself as a star alongside Jordy Clasie.
Wanyama will immediately add a healthy dose of physicality to Spurs' midfield, shielding the back line and further freeing up the likes of Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen to focus more on the attack.
The former Celtic man can provide stronger competition for Eric Dier than Ryan Mason offers and gives manager Mauricio Pochettino the option of deploying both players if he wants to make the team even more secure in the centre.
His presence should add further resilience to the Lilywhites squad, which could help them avoid the kinds of collapses they endured in the final few games of last season—they threw away winning positions in three of their final four games before being turned over 5-1 by relegated Newcastle United.
Spurs face a difficult task next season in trying to win the Premier League title, but Wanyama's capture will increase their strength in depth and is a positive step toward achieving that goal.