Advertisement

In a wild transfer market, Kyle Walker's fee makes sense for Manchester City

In a wild transfer market, Kyle Walker's fee makes sense for Manchester City
From ESPN - July 17, 2017

Kyle Walker's expensive switch from Tottenham Hotspur to Manchester City has prompted plenty of bewilderment and criticism. Sources told ESPN FC that the clubs had agreed a fee of 45 million with a further5m in add-ons while the agency that represents the 27-year-old claimed the deal was a record for a defender and an Englishman -- thus beating the50m Paris Saint-Germain paid for David Luiz and the 49m City spent on Raheem Sterling.

Either way, Walker has not come cheaply and the size of the fee has led to a backlash. Former England and Spurs striker Gary Lineker was among them tweeting: "Do not get me wrong, I like Kyle Walker. He has many assets, and is a good addition for Man City. Not his fault of course, but50m is mental."

But a move for Walker makes plenty of sense. Here are five reasons why City are justified in paying such a sizeable price for the England international.

Full-back position has been overlooked for years

City's squad is relatively well-stocked in most positions with one glaring exception: full-back. Before the arrival of Walker, Pep Guardiola had just one senior option -- Aleksandar Kolarov -- who spent much of last season playing at centre-back.

Pablo Zabaleta, Bacary Sagna and Gael Clichy -- all in their 30s -- were allowed to leave for free after years of under-investment in the position. City have not spent any money on a full-back since a relatively modest 7m fee paid to Arsenal for Clichy six years ago.

It was a surprise that in Guardiola's first summer at the club he did not bring in any new full-backs with his options already in decline. Zabaleta was a fantastic player in his nine years at the Etihad, but a series of injury setbacks and testing seasons led to a dip in the Argentinian's form, and Clichy and Sagna were not the quality Guardiola was used to at previous clubs Barcelona and Bayern Munich, where Dani Alves and Philipp Lahm were so important.

If City also add Monaco's Benjamin Mendy, as they are expected to, they are adding two full-backs who will make a huge difference to the quality of their starting XI.

Best available

A look at the list at the world's best right-backs shows that Walker was probably the best that City could sign this summer. Lahm has retired, Real Madrid would not consider selling Dani Carvajal and Atletico Madrid's Juanfran, Stephan Lichtsteiner of Juventus and Borussia Dortmund's Lukasz Piszczek are all in their 30s and on the decline.

City wanted Alves -- more of that later -- and showed interest in Arsenal's Hector Bellerin before he signed a six-and-a-half year contract at the Emirates.

Walker is certainly in the top 10 right-backs in the world and was the best viable option for Guardiola.

Advertisement

Continue reading at ESPN »