Walker’s City Saga: From Munich Temptation to Etihad Loyalty
The Almost-Transfer of the Summer
As football fans revelled in the summer transfer drama, few tales caught the eye quite like the Kyle Walker saga. A City stalwart, Walker recently disclosed just how “close” he was to sporting Bayern Munich’s colours. But, as football’s often unpredictable nature would have it, the Etihad would remain his home report BBC Sport.
“Decisions can be made, things can turn,” the English full-back remarked. “It was close but in football things can happen. It wasn’t meant to be.” Even as the reigning Premier League champions continue to shape English football’s landscape, Walker couldn’t hide his intrigue at what could’ve been a Bavarian adventure. “Would I have enjoyed the experience? Of course I would, but you can’t underestimate what this club has done in the last six or seven years.”
Pep’s Tactical Tug-of-War
For a player who has often been integral to Manchester City’s success, Walker’s place in the squad seemed on shaky ground last spring. A brief falling-out with manager Pep Guardiola, combined with his exclusion from City’s starting XI in the all-important Champions League final in June, had pundits speculating.
However, the real plot twist came when it was revealed Bayern Munich had laid a tempting offer on the table. Yet City, sensing the importance of retaining Walker’s services, countered with what’s understood to be a two-year extension. It was a move that seemingly paid off.
“It was about who gave me the most years,” Walker disclosed. “In the back of my head I always wanted to play for Manchester City but I had to do what was right for me and my future. It was just about which club gave me the years in my contract to play football at the highest level.”
A Champion’s Stance on Loyalty
Having transitioned from Tottenham to City in 2017, Walker’s connection to the Manchester club is profound. With five title-winner’s medals in tow, his passion for the side is palpable. “The extension is coming,” he confidently shared, with a touch of nostalgia, “It’s my seventh season here and I feel like one of the old ones. I love the place.”
The fierce speculation, especially in July, saw Walker’s commitment to City tested when they locked horns with Bayern in a pre-season friendly. To many a City supporter’s surprise and delight, not only did he start, but Walker was also handed the captain’s armband. A gesture, perhaps, of things to come?
“That is not me as a person. I have a contract with the club and I will play for the club until the contract [ends] or they sell me – and I wasn’t sold.”
Future Captaincy Ambitions
With the captaincy band at City soon up for grabs, Walker is not one to shy away from expressing his ambitions. Guardiola’s planned squad vote for Ilkay Gundogan’s successor has Walker eagerly waiting.
“It is an honour of privilege, of course I want it,” he said, showcasing his leadership aspirations both on and off the pitch, “If you can’t pass on your knowledge and life experiences on or off the field, I shouldn’t be playing at a great club like this.”
The twists and turns of football are myriad, and Walker’s summer exemplifies that. As the Manchester City faithful await the official ink on that contract extension, one thing’s for sure: Walker’s heart, for now, firmly belongs to the Etihad.