So, Kyle Walker has been spotted in Hartlepool? That obviously means that he’ll be leaving Tottenham Hotspur for the National League next season and Spurs Chairman, Daniel Levy, has sent him off with a packed lunch to show that there are no hard feelings between the two.
Yes, it is… unbelievable. Mauricio Pochettino will have woken from this bad dream, sweltering in the heat – as we all are, while trying to look forward to cold Saturday afternoons of football – and been relieved to know that there is no such thing as a free lunch; yet more than a little concerned that the asking price for Kyle is allegedly £45 million.
One dictionary definition of ‘kyle’ is ‘a narrow sea channel.’ For the next two years at least, there is a very narrow channel between us and Europe (or, us and them, if you come from certain parts of north-east London). Kyle does not think this way though. Us is no bigger a word to him than U.S. is to members of the Mexican team currently competing in the Confederations Cup.
It isn’t that Kyle especially wanted to leave White Hart Lane. Let’s face it, the whole team has – for the time being. It’s just that Kyle is said to have had ‘his head turned’ by others. This became especially apparent when Spurs crashed to defeat against West Ham United at the London Stadium towards the end of last season.
Kyle was just not himself on that Friday evening – no energetic, overlapping runs; no scything tackles (well, not as many as usual) and no scary, staring eyes. More rabbit in the headlights than Mr McGregor on speed with a watering can full of pesticide.
Who then has managed to turn Kyle’s head so that he can see the players he has failed to tackle, running in on goal and ensuring that Spurs never again win the league title?
Well, the front-runner was supposed to be Manchester City. Pep Guardiola has learned a lot from his first season in English football and one thing he spotted was that the original Stuart Pearce signings of Pablo Zabaleta and Vincent Kompany were now found wanting: more pace, more money, more BUPA cover and so on.
Pep attempted to plug an early gap with John Stones but you know how it is when you have a plug that doesn’t quite fit (which is why, in my humble opinion, beer mats were always better until they fell apart under the pressure) and the water slowly but surely disappears? Well, John must step up now and provide better cover for City (as well as England, though that is like, ahem, building a wall along a very long, unprotected boundary).
It is thought that Pep would go for Kyle – indeed, may already have tapped him up with a plate of tapas – but then Pep remembered a player from his Barcelona days: Dani Alves – also a right-back. Barcelona clearly forgot how good Dani was and he promptly rubbed their noses in the Spanish dirt as he helped Juventus to another Champions League Final heartbreak. Pep will have watched all of this unfold – possibly on BT Sport.
In an attempt to perhaps force the issue, Kyle has also apparently been spotted in Barcelona – having first mistakenly visited Bayern (To B or not to B eh!). Maybe he is just taking a well-earned break? After all, he made the PFA’s Team of the Year again last season; did score the opening goal of the 2015-16 Premier League season (albeit in his own net at Old Trafford), and remains the youngest Sheffield United player ever to play at Wembley Stadium.
No narrow sea channel will prevent Kyle from moving. He may not walk on water, as Brian Clough once did, but when he decides to run (sometimes with the ball) he is as difficult as ever to catch.