Such has been the standard of Victor Wanyama’s performances in the heart of Celtic’s midfield this season, they have led manager Neil Lennon to slap a £25m price tag on his prize asset.
And whilst it looks far-fetched to suggest that the SPL champions will eventually receive a fee anywhere near that region for the Kenyan powerhouse, his potential availability has attracted the attention of many a reputable club.
Liverpool are believed to lead the chase for the athletic midfielder, as Brendan Rodgers remains keen to add to a squadron of players epitomising comfort in possession.
But Southampton have recently joined the race for the 21-year-old too, and appear to have more serious designs on Wanyama than Arsenal, who have dropped out of the running despite an obvious need for added presence in their midfield.
Indeed, Saints chief Mauro Pochettino sent scouts to watch Wanyama in Celtic’s recent clash with Motherwell, and was the recipient of a glowing report despite the Hoops succumbing to a 3-1 defeat.
In reaction, Pochettino is preparing to spark a Premier League bidding war by offering £10m for the Kenyan international, who has only a year remaining on his current contract with the Glaswegian giants.
That fact is as clear an indication as any that Lennon won’t get anything like the astronomical fee he desires for his star, though the re-emergence of Manchester United as candidates to land his signature would see his value enhance.
Starring Champions League displays opposing the likes of Barcelona made Wanyama one of Europe’s most coveted prospects earlier in the season, and therefore a move to the Premier League champions is possibly easier to envisage than one to a club not yet assured of top-flight status next term.
But perfectly fitting the mould of a typical Rodgers signing in terms of his age, scope for development and considerable resale value, Liverpool looks Wanyama’s likeliest destination this summer.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.