Connect in the back of the net

It’s no secret that Manchester City are in desperate need of wing-backs and with Dani Alves this week joining PSG it seems almost inevitable that City will fork out £50 million for 27-year-old Spurs defender, Kyle Walker.

Having successfully worked with Alves at Barcelona, Pep Guardiola will understandably be disappointed not to have got his man.

However, it is widely accepted that City have also been pursuing Walker for many months, Walker himself appears to be keen to join City, voicing this to the management team at Spurs resulted in his game time diminishing at the back-end of last season, Pochettino opting to field Kieran Trippier as Walker’s replacement.

Negotiations between City and Spurs are on-going but, it is believed that City are still around £10 million short of Spurs’ £50 million valuation at the time of writing.

City are likely to dramatically increase Walker’s £70,000 per week wage, making the player himself likely to force through a move.

 

Rectifying a weak spot

Wing-back was not a position of strength for City last season, as a result, Gael Clichy, Pablo Zabaleta and Bacary Sagna were all released from the club this summer, leaving Aleksandar Kolarov as the only senior wing-back at the club.

City’s interest in Walker is understandable, a quick look at last season’s stats make that much clear, for the purpose of this article I have compared some key indicators in Walker’s game to ex-City right wing-backs Pablo Zabaleta and Bacary Sagna, it is sensible at this point to highlight that Walker played 33 Premier League games last term compared to 20 and 17 games played by Zabaleta and Sagna, respectively.

Starting with the more defensive minded statistics, Walker made 53 successful tackles and 36 interceptions last term, both Zabaleta (31:28) and Sagna (16:21) failed to match that, having said that it is worth pointing out that Walker committed more fouls (36) than both Zabaleta (14) and Sagna, who registered just 3 fouls all season.

 

Great going forward

Not only did Walker have a better season defensively but, the same is true going forward, the England international created 39 changes for his teammates last season compared to Zabaleta’s 9 and Sagna’s 8, resulting in; 5, 1, 1 assists, respectively.

Walker also completed more passes than both former City wing-backs, 1151 compared with Zabaleta’s 462 and Sagna’s 726, Walker’s completed passes were also over a greater distance, his average pass length of 20.36m dwarfs Zabaleta’s 15.45m and Sagna’s 16.47m but it’s important to consider how much more direct Spurs play-style is compared with Pep’s tiki-taka short passing game, something Walker will have to adapt to if the move does go ahead.

 

Fine signing overall, but does he deserve the massive pricetag?

All in all, Walker presents a superior option at City’s wing-back position when compared to both Zabaleta and Sagna, both defensively and offensively.

Walker is also a far more attractive age for a squad looking to win the league, at 27 he should be at his peak, if not close to it.

However, I do have one reservation, if City to complete the transfer for the reported fee it will make Kyle Walker the most expensive defender in history – yes, you heard me right, Kyle Walker, the most expensive defender in the world.

After proposing to sign Dani Alves on a free, is the next best option to make Kyle Walker the most expensive defender ever? Not for me but it epitomises the transfer market at this point in time.

 

Written by Joe Hinchliffe 

Follow Joe on Twitter @JoeHinchy93

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