Southampton manager Ronald Koeman has tried to put a rest to the Victor Wanyama transfer saga, saying the midfielder has "accepted he will stay" at the south coast club following their refusal to sell him to Tottenham Hotspur in the final days of the transfer window. Koeman admitted it was a hard fight to keep the Kenya international, but says Wanyama returned to training as a "different person" to the one who tried to force his exit in the final days of the mercato.
Koeman left Wanyama out of the Saints squad for the 3-0 win over Norwich, saying he was not "mentally and physically good enough to play". Sky Sports previously claimed that the player has asked to leave Southampton with the intention of reuniting with former manager Mauricio Pochettino at White Hart Lane.
But having allowed Morgan Schneiderlin to join Manchester United and Nathaniel Clyne to move to Liverpool during the summer, Southampton decided to block his departure. Koeman has now claimed that Wanyama understood their decision – while appearing to rule out the saga with Spurs to be reopened in the January transfer window.
"Victor is back with a real focus, and if he's back like that, he's part of the team. When I spoke to Victor yesterday, already it was a different person than he was in the last week of the transfer window," the manager, said as quoted by the BBC. "We know that it was a hard fight but I think our statement was very clear to everybody: nobody for sale. Victor said he would like to move, but now he has accepted he will stay, and I think that's good."
Southampton executive director Les Reed had previously told Sky Sports News that he wants to commit Wanyama's long-term future to the club with a new deal. "We have already tried to start negotiations on that. We have offered him the opportunity for a long-term extension. We'd like to tie him down for another five years. Whether that's possible or not, I don't know but the opportunity is there to do that," he recently said.