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Replacing Scott Brown isn’t going to be easy, but with the Celtic captain turning 35 years old this season the Bhoys are right to start looking at potential replacements for the midfield destroyer.
And, according to recent reports, the Scottish champions are exploring the possibility of bringing Victor Wanyama back to the Scottish top flight.
“There was interest [in the summer] but it never got off the ground,” Neil Lennon admitted this week. “Could we look at it again in January? We'll have to wait and see. We might not want to with the balance of the squad now, as well as the affordability.”
Bringing Wanyama back to Paradise wouldn’t be cheap. Club Brugge tried and failed to sign the 28-year-old during the summer transfer window. The Belgian’s agreed on a £12million fee with Spurs and the deal looked set to be completed until a last-minute hiccup saw the Kenyan remain in London.
Celtic wouldn’t be able – or you sense willing – to offer close to £12million, not for a player they wouldn’t be able to make a profit on. But a loan deal could suit all parties.
With Wanyama not getting much of a look in at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium, regular playing time under Lennon may well be tempting.
Returning to the place he called home for two years could help get his career back on track. Injuries have stolen the best part of two seasons from Wanyama, with the former Celtic star managing just over 1,300 minutes in the English top-flight since the start of the 2017/18 campaign.
Spurs strengthened in the summer, adding Giovani Lo Celso and Tanguy Ndombele to an already stacked midfield. Though a quality player on his day, those have been few and far between for Wanyama recently.
Loaning the Spurs midfielder would lighten Brown’s workload and give Celtic added steel in the middle third. Given Wanyama was open to moving to Club Brugge, it’s safe to say he isn’t angling for a move to a team challenging for the Champions League. He just wants to get back to playing football at a competitive level. Celtic offers that and then some.
If Wanyama did enough to impress then perhaps a deal could be struck with Daniel Levy which sees him return to Parkhead but without the Bhoys breaking the bank. Unlikely, yes, but not impossible.
From a Spurs perspective, loaning out a player they value at around £12million doesn't make financial sense, but such a move may actually help them achieve a greater fe if he’s playing regularly. It’s hard for them to retain that valuation on a player not getting regular minutes, especially when his deal expires in June 2021.
Wanyama wouldn’t be a long-term Brown replacement given he’s 29 at the end of the current campaign. But he could be an ideal signing in the short-term to help shoulder the burden in while Celtic search for the next destroyer to ultimately lead the club.
The Spurs No.12 could be the link between old and new. He knows all about the club and what is needed to patrol the midfield. That experience can’t be replicated or bought. Having it gives him an advantage, one Celtic would be foolish not to make the most of.