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Celtic’s Loss, Montreal’s Gain?

Salary demands are likely to have put Celtic off in race for Kenyan midfielder.

CD Olimpia v Montreal Impact: Quarterfinals - Leg 1 - 2020 CONCACAF Champions League
Victor Wanyama - almost re-signed for Scottish giants Celtic on transfer-deadline day, but ended up heading to Quebec.
Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

According to some sources in Scotland, Celtic, one of several clubs still interested in Impact’s new DP signing Victor Wanyama on transfer-deadline day, did well not to hook their former player. And it’s nothing to do with knee problems.

London’s Evening Standard had also suggested the Scottish giant was in talks with Tottenham Hotspur over a potential loan deal.

Wanyama of course then completed a move to Montreal and The Athletic’s Sam Stejskal went on to reveal what the midfielder’s average annual wage with the MLS side is.

It’s believed the US$3m-a-year salary would have made Wanyama Celtic’s top paid player and explains why The Bhoys dropped their interest. Converting the salary figure into sterling it works out in the region of £48,000 per week.

Celtic’s Scottish international winger James Forrest’s new deal earlier earlier this season set him on a weekly wage of around £25,000-a-week which, according to Football Insider saw him join the likes of Christopher Jullien and Scott Brown as the club’s top earners.

Wanyama’s wage would’ve almost doubled that, a hugely significant sum for Celtic to pay just one player.

Celtic v Rangers - Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership
James Forrest, one of Celtic’s top earners in Old Firm action against Rangers this season.
Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Wanyama’s former Kenyan international team-mate Boniface Ambani meanwhile has backed the midfielder’s move from London to Quebec.

“Great to have somewhere you can play. A player has to be active week in week out. It’s a good move for Wanyama,” Ambani told Goal.

“He will get involved with matches and who knows, he can get his form back. The Premier League is so wanting. It’s quite rigorous, he was injured and before he catches up with the rest it can be too late. So it’s better he moves out, gets regular playing time and who knows he can still make it back.

“Remember as a national team player he needs a lot of playing time. Match fitness is what he is currently lacking. Otherwise to me, not a bad move given EPL had closed its transfer window, and most European clubs are currently busy with their second leg matches.”

While claiming Wanyama’s career had already peaked, Ambani didn’t feel he had taken a step backwards.

He added: “In football, especially when you’ve not been active and with prolonged injury, you have to get your footings back. It doesn’t matter where and how.

“So to me I have no problem with where he is. Remember he isn’t at his peak. He already passed there. So I don’t think it’s a bad move. It’s fine. Age is catching up too, remember. So getting a top [European] club at the moment was going to be tricky.”

Wanyama has struggled over the past couple of seasons with back and knee injuries which proved difficult to entirely shake off, leading to successive Tottenham managers, firstly Mauricio Pochettino and now Jose Mourinho allowing the Kenyan to slip further down the pecking order.

Montreal and Victor Wanyama will hope Celtic’s deadline-day loss becomes the Impact’s emphatic early-season gain. Wanyama showed encouraging glimpses in his only north American outing to date, but only time will tell if his depressing run of injuries is firmly a thing of the past, or not.