On this week’s MLS Soccer Show’s “Who’s Who” segment, we look at CF Montreal midfielder Victor Wanyama. In the video above, we take a deep dive into Wanyama’s career in Europe and discuss what made him great before he got to the U.S. Then, we look at which young MLS prospect most resembles the rough and tough defensive midfielder in his prime.
Who is CF Montreal defensive midfielder Victor Wanyama?
Victor Wanyama is a 6-foot-3, 176-pound central defensive midfielder hailing from Nairobi, Kenya.
As a teenager, he played for Kenyan Premier League teams the Nairobi City Stars and AFC Leopards. At 18, he moved to Sweden to join his brother McDonald Mariga at Helsingborg.
After a short time in Scandinavia, Wanyama tried out for Beerschot AC in Belgium and made the team. After 51 appearances there, Celtic, the top team in Scotland, and springboard for young prospects in Europe, came calling. The Scottish side paid $1.21 million for the young African.
At Celtic, Wanyama helped the club win two Scottish Premier League titles and a Scottish Cup. However, his most memorable contribution may have been a goal against Barcelona in a 2012 Champions Leagued match that helped Celtic upset Lionel Messi and company at the height of their success.
The club’s success, paired with Wanyama’s skill and destroyer mentality, led to the English Premier League’s Southampton paying $15.95 million for the CDM.
After three seasons in the middle of the EPL table, one of the top clubs in England, Tottenham Hotspur, paid $15.84 for the then-25-year-old veteran. Wanyama made 97 appearances for Spurs with seven goals and one assist. However, knee injuries took their toll, and the club let Wanyama move to CF Montreal in MLS for the 2020 campaign.
Which young MLS star most resembles Victor Wanyama?
Victor Wanyama is as tough as he is talented. He is a big, physical presence in the middle of the pitch, but he’s not just a bruiser. Wanyama is a skilled dribbler and passer. He can control the midfield with his offense and his defense.
On occasion, Wanyama will even uncork an absolute rope from outside the box to keep the defense honest. The 30-year-old Kenyan isn’t the best midfielder in the world, but, in his prime, he was as complete a package as any player from box to box.
Of the young MLS defensive midfielders today, six have the potential to develop into Wanyama-type CDMs. Here’s the tale of the tape on the candidates.
|César Araújo||Uruguay||Orlando City||21||5-foot-10||172 lbs.||16||0||0|
|Keaton Parks||USA||NYCFC||24||6-foot-3||179 lbs.||107||12||4|
|Francisco Ginella||Uruguay||LACFC||23||6-foot||161 lbs.||59||1||3|
|Andrés Perea||USA||Orlando City||21||6-foot||159 lbs.||69||3||2|
|Kervin Arriaga||Honduras||Minnesota United||24||6-foot-3||181 lbs.||13||1||1|
|Noble Okello||Canada||Toronto FC||21||6-foot-5||207 lbs.||26||1||1|
Which of these young MLS talents is closest to Victor Wanyama in his prime? Check out the video above to find out who we decide.
Stats and transfer fees courtesy of Transfermrkt