If you were even a casual observer of the final weeks of Tottenham Hotspur’s season, you’ll be well aware that the once harmonious relationship between the club and their England international right back Kyle Walker is not at its best.
The reason for that relationship breakdown is unclear, but what is clear is that Mauricio Pochettino made a strong point during the last few games by alternating the usual undroppable Walker with Kieran Trippier, with the latter preferred for the big games.
This has clearly rankled Walker, and his dissatisfaction at being dropped, coupled with his desire for more money has resulted in strong suggestions that this season could be the one where the right back moves on.
We could debate the whys and wherefores to the cows come home, as we could also ponder aloud whether this is a sensible decision from Walker, but ultimately, it’s a move that most agree is going to happen.
— Talking THFC (@TalkingTHFC) June 7, 2017
The question is: where?
In truth, there are probably four teams capable of matching Walker’s wage demands. Walker recently signed a new contract at Spurs, but their rigid wage structure means that he only earns £70,000 per week – a huge sum in most industries, but a paltry figure in comparison to what the defender could earn at some of the big Premier League teams.
It is understood that Walker is after at least double his current wage, and therefore it is thought that only Chelsea, Liverpool and both the Manchester clubs are capable of meeting those demands.
And of those four clubs, it is Chelsea and Manchester City who appear to be frontrunners. A move to either club would create more than a ripple in the 2017/18 Premier League sports betting markets.
A Chelsea move may well suit Walker well in the sense that he will not need to move from the South, and Antonio Conte is thought to be very interested in the full back’s dynamism up the right flank. Victor Moses has played a similar position for Chelsea during Conte’s reign, and the Italian is reportedly keen to provide Moses with some competition.
Walker would certainly fit well into this current Chelsea side, but would a move to Manchester City be the more appropriate for him?
There is certainly a Walker-sized gap on the right hand side for Pep Guardiola’s side, with Pablo Zabaleta leaving at the end of the season on a free transfer, and the Spaniard certainly seems very keen on the player.
However, the sticking point for City may be the fee. Guardiola is clearly being given an extremely large transfer budget, as the club look to return to the top of the Premier League, so paying the money won’t be a problem.
But, as anyone who has witnessed Daniel Levy’s negotiation skills will know, the Spurs chairman drives a hard bargain.
Walker has four years remaining on his contract, and Levy will be looking for a minimum of £35 million for a player that Tottenham have grown and shaped over the last eight years. If City are willing to stump up the cash, then Levy may well let Walker go, but it certainly won’t be a cut price deal.
Jan Vertonghen on Kyle Walker and Danny Rose: "I really hope they all stay and we all push together for something very nice next season." pic.twitter.com/ORh2KtFcbN
— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) June 7, 2017
Experience tells us that City are able to stump up the cash – they pay the highest wages in the league, and so if it’s money that Walker’s after, then it seems the most sensible destination for him.
But here’s a final though: why would Spurs sell to either City or Chelsea?
These days, both clubs are now direct rivals for Tottenham, and selling Walker to either would be strengthening a club that will compete directly with Spurs for the title next season.
The money may seem attractive, but do the long term implications? Only Daniel Levy can answer that question.
Man City want to sign four full-backs this summer, with Ryan Bertrand, Kyle Walker and Benjamin Mendy all on their shortlist. (Source: Goal) pic.twitter.com/OAsIoA5NKh
— Transfer News Live (@DeadlineDayLive) June 7, 2017