Kyle Walker is a fantastic signing for Manchester City. Not only is Walker a quality player, but he also helps to fill a gaping void in City’s side. City found themselves with no senior full-backs in their squad prior to the transfer of Walker. All four of City’s full-backs from the 2016/17 season are either gone or have changed position; Gaël Clichy has joined Basaksehir on a free transfer after his contract expired, Aleksandar Kolarov is a central defender in Pep Guardiola’s system, Pablo Zabaleta has joined West Ham on a free transfer after his contract expired, and Bacary Sagna allegedly has several potential suitors now that his contract has also expired. Walker isn’t just a replacement for one of City’s exiting full-backs, though, he is a vast improvement.
On their day, Clichy, Kolarov, Zabaleta, and Sagna were some of the best full-backs in the Premier League. But, for the past two seasons, great performances from that foursome have been few and far between. Kyle Walker, on the other hand, is not just one of the best full-backs in the league, he is the best right-back in the league.
Walker’s transfer, regardless of his performances for City, will be criticized by many because of the astronomically high fee. City will give Tottenham a £45 million base payment with add-ons that will be capped at an additional £5 million. Walker is the best in his position in the Premier League, he is English, he is in his prime, he is transferring from a fellow Premier League title challenger in Tottenham Hotspur, and everyone and their mother knows that City are desperate for full-backs. It is certainly a staggering sum of money, but it is understandable.
I would venture to say that few are truly surprised by this transfer fee. Many will feign surprise and reference Manchester City as the sole destroyers of the beautiful game, but I doubt many truly believe that. In fact, people need to look no further than the other club in Manchester to see an accomplice in the world of outrageous transfer fees. There is no need for Premier League supporters to enter into a pissing contest of which club is the most liable for skyrocketing prices. Obviously, Manchester City spend absurd amounts of money on transfers, but so do Manchester United, and so do Chelsea, and even Everton are finding themselves in on the act this summer.
Many, though, will ridicule City for once again simply tossing money at their back line and hoping that it will come good. City have spent big on central defenders over the past several seasons, yet their defense is still one of the weaker aspects of the City squad. Despite large sums spent on the center of the City defense, the last full-back brought into the club was a free transfer for an aging Bacary Sagna in the summer of 2014. The last full-back City spent money on was Inter Milan’s Maicon in 2012. City will look to bring in at least two more full-backs this summer if not three. Benjamin Mendy and Ryan Bertrand look to be City’s targets for left-back, but it is unclear whether or not city will look to bring in a backup for Walker on the right side or utilize Pablo Maffeo, instead of sending him out on loan.
City have paid a record fee for Kyle Walker. But, that doesn’t make this a bad transfer for City. In fact, I think it is quite the contrary. Walker is a fantastic player, he is homegrown, he fills a gap in City’s squad, and if that wasn’t enough positives, he also weakens a Premier League rival. City fans should have no qualms about this transfer.