Victor Wanyama changed his mind. The midfielder, who said in October that he was playing his last season with CF Montreal, agreed on the terms of a new two-season contract with the club on Friday.
Wanyama will remain Designated Player. CF Montreal Chief Sports Officer Olivier Renard said he was happy with the signing, noting the player’s contribution « both on the field and in the locker room » over the past three seasons.
« His personality, his experience and his qualities as a player will help us in particular in terms of the stability of the group for the coming season, » added Renard in a press release.
Wanyama, who arrived in Montreal from Tottenham on a free transfer, has five goals and eight assists in 80 MLS games. He was, at the end of the 2022 season, a finalist for the title of player par excellence of the club, he who was one of the centerpieces of the successes of the CFM throughout this campaign which proved to be a season of dream.
« I’m excited to stay with the club and the city where I’ve been so happy for the past three years, » said the 31-year-old athlete. When I arrived here, I believed in the club’s project. »
As we continue to progress, this is even truer today. I look forward to continuing to give my best for my teammates, my coaches and the fans.
The only designated player of CF Montreal had nevertheless indicated very clearly, before the start of the playoffs in October, that he would “leave” at the end of the season. “I had some good years here, I liked being part of the team. It was good”, he added, before specifying that he did not want to “talk too much” because he did not “know[ait] not too much [allait] happen « .
Last August, Olivier Renard for his part indicated to The Press that « discussions » had to take place with the midfielder. He had also spoken of Wanyama as a « lovely person » in the locker room, without ignoring his « age » and his « investment price ».
“Does the club prefer to invest again for this same position when we may already have other players who can play? Fox wondered last summer. Do we keep Victor because he is an important person in the locker room? We have already weighed the pros and cons of this. »
Obviously, the pros won out.
The midfielder was CFM’s highest earner last season, with a budget burden of more than $3 million, according to the MLS Players Association. His current salary has not been disclosed.
With his experience, stature and accuracy in midfield, Wanyama was one of the most important architects of CF Montreal’s success last season. Without being spectacular, it was nevertheless the cornerstone of the environment, the rock on which the game was based.
This return is not necessarily part of the logic of the club, which wishes to acquire greener players, develop them, then resell them at a high price. On the other hand, with the departures of Djordje Mihailovic, Ismaël Koné and Alistair Johnston, Olivier Renard had to find a way to keep some of his pillars to ensure some continuity.
The CFM players will take part in their first training session of the year on Monday, January 9, at the Olympic Stadium. The team will train in Montreal until February 4, before continuing its preparation in Florida. CF Montreal will play its first game of the season on Saturday, February 25 at 7:30 p.m. against Inter Miami FC, at DRV PNK Stadium.
With the collaboration of Jean-François Téotonio, The Press