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Saturday 10 December 2016

Ronald Koeman: Victor Wanyama has returned a different player from one who wanted to leave Southampton

Ronald Koeman has backed Victor Wanyama, pictured, to settle back in at Southampton after being denied a transfer
Ronald Koeman has backed Victor Wanyama, pictured, to settle back in at Southampton after being denied a transfer

Ronald Koeman believes Victor Wanyama has returned to training “a different person” from the man agitating to leave Southampton during the transfer window.

The Kenya midfielder’s request to leave St Mary’s amid interest from Tottenham was steadfastly rejected by Southampton, the south coast club retaining both Wanyama (right) and Sadio Mane.

Saints boss Koeman spoke with Wanyama at length on Wednesday, revealing the 24-year-old is now in line to face West Brom when Premier League action returns tomorrow.

Koeman promised to “forget” Wanyama’s transfer request, if the holding midfielder now reaffirms his commitment to Southampton.

“We know that it was a hard fight but I think our statement was very clear to everybody: nobody for sale,” said Koeman, ahead of Saturday’s league clash at The Hawthorns.

“We know the future, Victor knows the future, and I spoke to Victor yesterday and he’s back with a real focus for the team, 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.”

Like Southampton, West Brom were able to fend off Tottenham’s advances for one of their top talents, striker Saido Berahino. Koeman praised Wanyama for keeping his counsel in some regards, indicating that level-headed approach left the door open for reconciliation.

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