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Southampton in tug-of-war for Inter Milan midfielder

Southampton and La Liga’s Real Betis are going head to head for the signature of McDonald Mariga.

Inter Milan midfielder, 26, looks set to leave the club during the January transfer market and English side Southampton and La Liga’s Real Betis look to be the favorite destinations.

The defensive midfielder, who is the brother of Southampton’s Victor Wanyama, started his career in Sweden and was due to sign for Harry Redknapp and Portsmouth in 2006, however the £2.5m transfer was held up due to on-going work permit problems.

The Kenyan international then moved to Serie A, initially on loan, before making a permanent £2m transfer to Parma.

It was with Parma where the defensive midfielder really started to impress and he was the subject of another bid from the Premier League, this time Manchester City in 2010. Nevertheless, more work permit problems scuppered the deal and instead he ended up at Inter Milan for a fee of £5m.

Despite becoming the first Kenyan player to play in Serie A, McDonald Mariga’s stay with Inter Milan hasn’t been a successful one, with injury problems and managerial changes, Mariga found himself back out on loan to his ex-club Parma and also a stint in La Liga with Real Sociedad.

This season McDonald Mariga has yet to start for Walter Mazzarri’s Inter side and he has been made surplus to requirements. It has been well-documented in the past that Pochettino is looking to add Mariga to his ranks and the Southampton manager will likely go in for him again in January.

Mariga’s brother Victor Wanyama has spoken in the past of his delight to play under Mauricio Pochettino and it could be enough to persuade Mariga to join.

"He has been great. He is a good motivator but knows when to pick out details that can change your game. It’s nice here, I have belief that I can realise dreams here."

However, FC internews and estadio deportivo are both reporting that Mariga could end up at Betis in another loan spell.

The recent injury to Betis midfielder Xavi Torres has left a gap to fill in the centre of midfield and with Mariga’s availability and experience in La Liga the Sevilla based side are looking for the Inter Milan midfielder to plug the gap until the end of the season.

Will Southampton win the race to sign McDonald Mariga?

image: © ingythewingy

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