Manchester City defender Kyle Walker has enjoyed an illustrious career playing for the treble-winners, and it was not so long ago that it seemed inevitable that a switch to Bayern Munich was set to materialise. However, the club maintain they have always wanted him to stay, and he is primed to pen a new extension with the club.
According to transfer journalist Fabricio Romano, Walker received an official offer of a new contract from Man City over the last 24 hours, and that he is expected to sign and remain with the club. The club are said to be confident of retaining the England international, who joined the club in 2017 from Tottenham Hotspur.
Speculation over the future of Walker gathered pace after Citizens boss Pep Guardiola decided against picking the player in his starting eleven for their UEFA Champions League Final victory over Inter, a match which completed their treble last season. The player himself was no doubt extremely disappointed, especially having enjoyed a long run in the time prior to the showpiece event.
However, whilst linking up with Thomas Tuchel in Munich was one attractive proposition that he seriously considered, it would appear he will extend his stay in the North West, at least by a one, or maybe even two years to his existing deal. The length of his contract is unknown at this stage.
With the news that Walker is set to remain at the club, I wanted to give my reasons as to why this is the right decision.
Kyle Walker New Contract: Can't buy experience
As mentioned, Walker has spent the last six years or so playing for the club, and during that time he has seen it all. When it comes to Manchester City, the name Kyle Walker will always be etched into its history, and rightly so. It is easy to forget that he was actually a Pep Guardiola signing, so even then the Spaniard saw something in the player, and he hasn't disappointed.
No player plays at this level of the game for as long as Walker has and not pick up a lot along the way. Practice makes perfect as they say, and playing football is no exception to that. The 33-year-old is one of the more experienced players within the squad, alongside the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, and the blend between that and youth within any team is paramount. He has a huge role to play and is not easily replaced.
Kyle Walker New Contract: Tactical brain
At the time of signing for City, Walker was seen as an adventurous full back that will regularly get up and down the pitch. It was no surprise to see the club sign him when they did and for the price that they paid. His reputation was growing then, and it has only continued to grow. He has however changed his game slightly over the last few seasons, with Guardiola no doubt having a big role in this.
Walker of course can still play the right back role, but don't expect to see him overlapping like he once did. He'll link up the play and pick up chose the right time to break forward. Nowadays, he is perhaps more at home at the right of a back three, with his recovery pace a major asset in denying opposition counter attacks. Pep loves him in this role, and is likely why he wanted him to stay.
Kyle Walker New Contract: One v one defending
The role Walker plays for Man City is slightly different to the one he often adopts lining up for England under Gareth Southgate. He too can do the back three role, but he is often selected as a right back in a back four. He very, very rarely fails to perform to a high standard in an England jersey, and his experience again makes him a huge asset.
There is another strong quality of his, and that is his ability to keep his opposing number quiet. He did a fine job in keeping Kylian Mbappe less impactful than normal during their clash in the World Cup, and at club level he excelled up against Real Madrid Vini Jr. who went into the game in the form of his life. Walker ensures no left winger has an easy ride.
Kyle Walker New Contract: Still at the top of his game
Finally, it is not being controversial to say that Walker is still amongst the top defenders in the game. He plays a very unique role that not many are able to successfully perform to the level he does it at. It would be easy to begin writing him off now aged 33, but his pace remains as good as ever, and there has been no visible downgrade in his performances.
Perhaps one big reason there has been some questioning around him is purely around Pep not selecting him in the UEFA Champions League Final. That was the biggest game in their history, but they didn't pick him. Does Pep know something we don't? He played a huge role in getting to the final, but he clearly went all-out to stop him signing for Bayern Munich. When selected, he turns up on the big occasion and does a job to an extemporary standard.
To conclude, it would appear that Walker will extend his stay as a Manchester City and look to play a key role in aiming to repeat, or even improve upon, their excellent showing of last season. Whilst a switch to Bayern Munich has its benefits, he clearly believes he still has unfinished business at Premier League level. He is a top defender, and that has not suddenly changed due to not playing in one specific game.