At roughly 2:30pm yesterday afternoon, news broke that a deal had been reached for Kyle Walker to leave Tottenham and join Manchester City after Spurs accepted a £50m bid for the right-back.
Walker, who has played 198 Premier League games for the club over 8 years, was rumoured to have fallen out with boss Mauricio Pochettino towards the end of last season and losing his place in the starting 11 to Kieran Trippier seems to have pushed him firmly towards the exit door over the summer.
At £50m, with a rumoured further £5m in add-ons being paid to Spurs should certain achievements be hit by City, the fee ensures Walker will go down as one of the most expensive defenders of all time and the second most expensive player sold by Spurs, behind Gareth Bale, in their history.
As usual, news of the move has seen a split opinion between the Spurs fanbase on social media. Many fans are outraged to see him go, whilst others believe he’s easily replaceable.
So, what will Spurs miss from Walker going, and why are some fans happy to see him go?
Reasons to be upset:
During his time at the club, Walker has gone on to be one of the most fearsome full-backs in Europe, largely thanks to his blistering pace from right-back. Given the high-intensity, quick flowing football Pochettino believes in playing, Walker has been key in providing width and an extra attacking outlet when the side go forward, whilst having the pace to get back into position when being hit on the counter attack. He’s familiar with the Premier League, still only 27 and a full England international. Perhaps most importantly, he slotted perfectly into the system Pochettino has got the team playing and introducing a new player into that system to replace Walker will not be easy at all.
Oh, and there’s also the small fact that one of our Premier League rivals have taken one of the club’s best players. Regardless of the fee, that’s going to hurt the club and the fans, who, after a second placed finish last year, would’ve hoped that this summer saw players come in to strengthen the side, rather than players leave to weaken it.
Reasons to be optimistic:
As good as Walker is going forward, there have always been questions about him defensively. Even back in the days of AVB, it was clear to see that Walker relies on his pace to get him out of sticky situations on a regular basis. Take a look at last season, for example – in the games he played, Walker would burst forward to support attacks, but leave huge gaps at right-back for teams to exploit. If it wasn’t for Wanyama/Alderwiereld dropping in to cover that space, there would’ve been trouble on the counter attack. It seems that despite playing under several different coaches in his time at the club, none of them have been able to sort out the defensive side of his game. Manchester City are getting a very good full back, but he’s no Dani Alves or Philipp Lahm, and Pep Guardiola will soon realise that.
For £50m, in my opinion, Levy has done exceptionally well to get that for a player who may very well have fallen out with the coach and would’ve potentially gone for much less, should the saga be dragged out all summer. It gives the club time to go out and replace him with a like-for-like player, with 23 year-old Portuguese right-back Ricardo Pereira being the favourite to replace him for a fee of £23m from Porto. Don’t forget Kyle Walker-Peters too – so impressive in the youth teams at both club and International level last season – who will also be hoping to make an impact this year