English Premier’s Newcastle have placed Kenyan midfielder Victor Wanyama on their list of potential targets following his impressive start to his Parkhead career.
The 20 year old younger brother of Real Sociedad’s McDonald Mariga, has been one of the big successes of the Celtic season so far since arriving from Belgian side Germinal Beerschot in a £1million deal last summer. And with Newcastle looking increasingly likely to lose their star midfielder Cheik Tiote, Sportsmail understands Wanyama is being closely monitored to fill the potential gap at St James’ Park.
Manager Alan Pardew voiced his concern over 25-year-old Tiote’s future earlier this month. Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea have all shown interest in the former FC Twente midfielder, who said: ‘I am flattered but there is nothing official. When teams such as Chelsea, City, Liverpool and United are interested in you it makes you think twice, but I love Newcastle.’
Sunderland and Aston Villa also checked out 20-year-old Kenyan Wanyama before his summer move to Celtic from Germinal Beerschott.
Since then, Wanyama has again caught the eye of Newcastle representatives sent north to check on loan keeper Fraser Forster and his name would come under consideration if Tiote, as expected, moves in January for a fee in excess of £20m.
Wanyama spoke of how his confidence has soared since being handed an extended run in the team and of his desire to make an Old Firm debut next week when Rangers visit Parkhead.
‘It would be nice to play because I didn’t get off the bench last time. It’s the kind of game every player wants to play in,’ he told the Celtic View.
‘I want to give it my all for them so they are happy. If we keep our good form going, we will have a good chance because our confidence will be high.’
And after scoring his first goal for the club, a splendid effort in the recent win over Hearts, Wanyama added: ‘It was very good scoring my first goal and I was also happy because it was the winning goal. I gave my team three points and that felt nice.
‘I think it was a special goal and you can only score like that once. I don’t really practise shooting in training, especially not from that far, so I was very happy after it.’
Celtic manager Neil Lennon insists he is in the market to buy rather than sell in January and talks will continue this week with Fulham over a fee for Algerian central defender Rafik Halliche, who impressed on trial and is wanted on loan until the end of the season, with an option to buy built in.
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