Victor Wanyama’s first challenge upon completing a historic switch from English Premier League (EPL) side Tottenham Hotspur to Major League Soccer (MLS) club Montreal Impact is to learn French.
Wanyama also explained that former Arsenal star Thierry Henry called him and convinced him to join the club which the Frenchman currently coaches.
“I arrived here last (Monday) night and I am surprised that there is snow everywhere,” the 28-year-old told Impact’s website.
The club is managed by former Arsenal and Barcelona forward Thierry Henry and competes in USA’s top-flight football league.
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“When I spoke to Henry and he told me he wanted me to join him in Montreal, I didn’t have to think twice. He has been a player that I have admired. MLS continues to grow every season and I’m looking forward to bringing further awareness of this team, city, and league across Africa.”
Wanyama becomes the third Kenyan footballer to play in the MLS after Lawrence Olum and Handwalla Bwana.
He arrives at the club as a free agent and designated player, signing a three-year contract and will link up with Nigerian Oriji Okonkwo and Senegal keeper Clement Diop.
“Victor is an important player with a great career,” Montreal Impact’s Sporting Director Olivier Renard said. “His undeniable experience will also help support the young players and help them progress.”
Multiple sources indicate that the former Southampton and Celtic player will earn about half of the Sh1 million a day he was making at Tottenham Hotspur.
Wanyama’s career has been hampered by consistent muscle injuries in the past three seasons, making him fall down the pecking order under coaches Mauricio Pochettino and Jose Mourinho.
“The main problem here is that he (Wanyama) was not playing,” explained former Harambee Stars coach James Nandwa.
“For such a talented and passionate lad, he must have been very bored and frustrated. He needed a fresh start and this is it. He will have less pressure to perform in the MLS and can still help the national team, especially with his experience.”
Impact is joint-top of MLS’s Eastern Conference. Wanyama could debut for Montreal Impact against FC Dallas on Saturday.