Wanyama sheds light on Alex Ferguson's interest to sign him at Manchester United

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FOOTBALL Wanyama sheds light on Alex Ferguson's interest to sign him at Manchester United

Festus Chuma 09:36 - 26.12.2023

Victor Wanyama reveals how close he came to joining Manchester United during his time at Celtic in a pivotal 2012 encounter.

Former Harambee Stars captain Victor Wanyama has opened up about a pivotal moment in his career when a potential move to English Premier League giants Manchester United hung in the balance.

It was the summer of 2012, and the footballing world was buzzing with speculation as Manchester United reportedly prepared a £10 million (Ksh 1 billion) bid for the Kenyan midfielder who was then plying his trade with Scottish Premier League heavyweights Celtic.

Wanyama's meteoric rise to prominence caught the attention of none other than the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson himself.

The breakthrough moment came during a high-stakes Champions League clash against the formidable Barcelona.

Wanyama etched his name into Celtic's history books that night when he opened the scoring just 21 minutes into the game. In the end, Celtic triumphed 2-1, with Tony Watt doubling the advantage and Lionel Messi pulling one back at Celtic Park.

"When I was at Celtic, I remember a breakthrough moment during a Champions League match against Barcelona. Sir Alex Ferguson came to watch that game. Afterward, the club president told me that Ferguson had come to watch me because I was also performing well in the league (Scottish Premiership)," Wanyama recalled that unforgettable evening on Radio47.

The encounter with Ferguson marked a potential turning point in Wanyama's career, a juncture when the doors to Old Trafford appeared to be swinging open.

Although there were no direct conversations between Wanyama and the iconic Manchester United manager, there was a pivotal meeting between Ferguson and Celtic's president, which fueled speculation about the midfielder's future.

"Although we didn't have a conversation, he did meet with the club president, who later informed me that they had talked with Fergie about the possibility of me joining Manchester United. However, I'm not sure what ultimately happened, as that was the year when Ferguson left the club," Wanyama revealed, highlighting the uncertainty that shrouded the potential transfer.

At the time, Wanyama was a young and promising 21-year-old midfielder who had arrived at Celtic in July 2011 from Belgian side Beerschot AC for a fee of £900,000 (Ksh 117 million).

His performances on the pitch quickly endeared him to Celtic's faithful, with the midfielder even donning the number 67 jersey during his debut season as a tribute to the club's historic 1967 European Cup victory.

During his tenure at Celtic, Wanyama made a significant impact, scoring a total of 13 goals. Two of those memorable strikes came in the Champions League, with one of them being that pivotal goal against Barcelona that caught Ferguson's eye.

Another striking goal came against his former club, Helsingborg, further solidifying his status as a rising star in European football.

In the end, the Manchester move never materialized for Wanyama, but the experience and the recognition he garnered during that time were invaluable in shaping his footballing journey.

His time at Celtic marked a crucial phase in his career, and while the allure of Old Trafford may have beckoned, fate had other plans for the talented Kenyan midfielder.

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