Tottenham was close to winning the Premier League last year but lacked real power in midfield, and that’s why Mauricio Pochettino made a move for Victor Wanyama this offseason.
The Kenyan captain joined from Southampton for £12 million and could be the missing piece of the puzzle in Tottenham’s title race.
Wanyama has been one of the best defensive midfielders in the Premier League over the past couple of seasons and with his presence in Tottenham’s midfield we can expect to see some more stability in the middle of the park at White Hart Lane.
Spurs were somewhat shambolic when Eric Dier and Moussa Dembele didn’t play together in the heart of the midfield. Ryan Mason tried to step in on several occasions, but their defence was exposed due to his inability to play as a classic DM.
Pochettino also paired Dele Alli with Eric Dier, but Harry Kane suffered the most without Alli playing behind him. The Argentinian manager realised the importance of reinforcements in midfield, so he brought in a defensive specialist who will efficiently cover his back four.
Dembele will miss the first six games due to suspension, and Wanyama and Dier should start in the opening month of the season. Wanyama will have time to adapt well, and Dembele could find it hard to force him out of the first eleven when returns.
Tottenham has another DM in the squad – Nabil Bentaleb. However, the Algerian played only five matches last season and missed most of it because of injuries.
It is unclear whether will Pochettino opts to keep Bentaleb as backup or loan him out, but it seems that at the moment, there is no place for the 21-year-old at White Hart Lane.
Victor Wanyama was a mainstay in Southampton’s lineup and he’s expected to play a similar role at Spurs.
It will best reflect on Tottenham’s goalscoring record; they had the second-best attack in the league, but now they can aim to score 80 or more goals which could help them win the EPL.
However, it isn’t expected that Wanyama contributes in that regard; he scored only four goals in his three years at St. Mary’s but on the other hand, he averaged 3.1 tackles and 2.3 interceptions per game in 2015/16 which are phenomenal stats.
In last two seasons, Wanyama recorded 187 successful tackles and is well known for putting pressure on opposition defenders.
Tottenham will be playing in the Champions League this year, hence Pochettino will use some of the fringe players at his disposal in the League Cup and potentially the FA Cup, but Wanyama’s place in the first team in the UCL and EPL should be unquestionable.
The manager certainly didn’t spend £12 million for one of the highest-rated DM’s to keep him on the bench.