This article forms part of our Profit Players feature series, which is where Football Transfer Tavern takes a look at how well a player has fared since being signed or sold, using statistical figures and statements from pundits to prove how good of a deal the club managed to achieve.
Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy has his critics – his former players among them – but he very nearly pulled off the perfect masterstroke when he allowed Kyle Walker to join Premier League rivals Manchester City in 2017.
Pep Guardiola’s City went on a heavy spending spree in the summer of two years ago, splashing out close to £300m on new players as the Spaniard strived to deliver a first Premier League crown under his stewardship.
A huge overhaul on his defence took place, with Walker joining the likes of Aymeric Laporte, Benjamin Mendy and Ederson – duly delivering in the following May as they wrapped up the title at a canter.
But Tottenham did well to muster what they could from City’s sizeable wallets. Spurs had signed Walker from Sheffield United in 2009 for a fee of £5.3m (Transfermarkt), and the full-back had become a loyal mainstay at White Hart Lane, amassing 229 appearances during his time in North London.
Walker may have become a trusted right-back at Spurs and gained international recognition, too – but according to Transfermarkt, his market value was just £27m when City made a deal worth up to £50m to bring him to the Etihad Stadium.
At the time, the defender had twice been named in the PFA Team of the Year, including the year City bought him – with his five-year gap between appearances perhaps illustrating the impact he failed to maintain after being named Young Player of the Year in 2012 – though he had ended the 2016/17 season with the joint-most assists for a defender (five) as Spurs finished second.
Whether or not City overpaid, Spurs almost pulled off the feat of using their surplus funds to the greatest effect, by welcoming the likes of Fernando Llorente and Lucas Moura that season – both of whom were pivotal in Spurs’ run to the Champions League final a year later, beating Walker’s City on the way.
With Walker going on to win two league championships, City will hardly be losing any sleep over the potentially questionable fee they paid for him – though it is arguable that Spurs almost delivered the Champions League as an eventual consequence, and were so close to sealing a deal which left all parties satisfied.
However, receiving a sum nearly twice the market value of Walker in 2017 is something to be proud of, nonetheless.
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