New signing Victor Wanyama says he will realise one of his ambitions in the game by representing Southampton in the top-flight this season.
The former Celtic midfielder conceded that it was a tough decision to swap Champions League football for a shot at playing in England, but he is a long-time admirer of the Barclays Premier League, and can’t wait to get started at St Mary’s.
“It means a lot,” he explained after putting pen-to-paper on a four year contract. “It has been my dream to play in the Premier League and now that I’m here, I’m very, very happy.
“Celtic was a big club and to me it was like my family there so they have played a big part for me to grow there as a player, and I’m just delighted that they’ve given me a chance to be here.
“It was really hard for me to make the decision, but I had to come here and I’m also delighted at the same time for being a part of Southampton, because this is what I was dreaming of and I’m very happy to be a Southampton player now.”
After arriving at St Mary’s on Thursday afternoon to complete his move, Wanyama highlighted how strong his first impressions were of the club, and explained how he will take nothing for granted in a bid to get into the team.
“I’ve seen that the stadium is good and that the changing room is also looking good so I think it is all very professional,” he commented.
“Southampton is a good club which has good players, so I just want to train hard, work hard also be a part of the starting eleven.
“I think Southampton have great players, and I just want to work hard and train to be in a position where I can start, and that comes through training and we’ll see where it will take me.”
Wanyama will become the first Kenyan national to play in the Barclays Premier League, and his position as a role model to youngsters back home is something that will take on extra significance following his move to England.
“I think I’ve been a role model for the young kids, but now they’ve got a chance to watch me in the Premier League so it will be good for them to be watching me as a player,” he said.
“I’m just happy to be here and I’m being modest because I want to set a good example which hopefully they can follow.”
Victor himself can take inspiration from his new teammate, Emmanuel Mayuka who is key figure in Zambian football.
“I know him although we’ve never played against each other,” Wanyama admits. “Hopefully soon we’re going to play alongside each other though.
“It’s always good to have somebody from your continent so I’m looking forward to getting along with him and hopefully it will be good for us both.”
Wanyama will link up with the squad in Spain and Austria shortly as pre-season preparations get underway, and the midfield powerhouse is now looking forward to getting his career at Saints started.
“That’s the first thing so I get to know some of the players,” he said. “Although it’s not going to be easy, I hope they’re going to help me out, but I think I’m going to get along with the others.
“I know a couple of the players already that will help me so it will be a good thing.”