Thursday, October 19, 2017

Walker makes record-breaking switch to Manchester City

SoccerNews in English Premier League 14 Jul 2017

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Manchester City have signed Kyle Walker from Tottenham in a deal that could reportedly rise to £50m – making the England international the most expensive full-back of all-time.

The 27-year-old could also usurp new City team-mate Raheem Sterling as the costliest English footballer in history after penning a five-year contract, if all performance-based add-ons in the agreement with Spurs are activated.

Walker, who ends an eight-year spell at White Hart Lane, has long been a speculated target for City, with boss Pep Guardiola committed to refreshing his full-back options after releasing experienced trio Pablo Zabaleta, Gael Clichy and Bacary Sagna at the end of last season.

City suffered a blow in their search for reinforcements this week when Dani Alves opted against a move to the Etihad Stadium in favour of joining Paris Saint-Germain but Guardiola now has Walker in the building before embarking on a pre-season tour of the United States.

“I am thrilled to be signing for City and can’t wait to get started,” Walker told his new club’s official website.

“Pep Guardiola is one of the most respected managers in the world and I feel he can help me take my game to a new level.”

Walker is the third high-profile arrival of the close season at City, following the signings of Portugal playmaker Bernardo Silva and Brazil goalkeeper Ederson, while the Premier League club have been heavily linked with moves for Monaco left-back Benjamin Mendy and Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez.

Guardiola finished without a trophy for the first time in his coaching career when City came third in the Premier League in 2016-17, but will hope the addition of Walker and others can lead to a more substantial return this time around.

“Kyle is a fine full-back, one capable of producing quality at both ends of the pitch,” said City’s director of football Txiki Begiristain.

“We’ve followed his progress at Tottenham and have been really impressed by how he has developed. He is now one of the best right-backs in the Premier League and justifiably an England regular.

“I am sure he will be a success at Manchester City this season and beyond.”

Walker began his career at Sheffield United and was loaned back to his boyhood club after joining Tottenham in 2009.

Temporary spells with Queens Park Rangers and Aston Villa followed before he established himself as a Spurs regular in 2011-12, when he would make his England debut and beat City striker Sergio Aguero, among others, to the PFA Young Player of the Year award that season.

Walker made 228 appearances for Tottenham in all competitions, scoring four times, and won the most recent of his 27 England caps against France in June.

He will join Guardiola’s squad for their tour of the US, which begins with a derby against Manchester United in Houston next Thursday, while City begin their Premier League campaign at newly promoted Brighton and Hove Albion on August 12.

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