Kyle Walker has his heart set on a romantic return to boyhood club Sheffield United and will snub European interest to run down his Manchester City contract before making his dream move.
According to The Sun, Manchester City and England defender Kyle Walker will rebuff transfer interest in the summer in order to see out the final year of his £160,000-a-week contract at the Etihad Stadium before making his preferred move to Bramall Lane on a free transfer the following summer.
The English right-back, who turns 33 later this month, has won nine major honours, including four Premier League titles, since joining Manchester City from Tottenham in the summer of 2017. However, he is no longer a guaranteed starter at the Etihad and is due to become a free agent at the end of next season.
But a host of clubs, including Aston Villa, West Ham, and Serie A giants AC Milan, are currently monitoring the 32-year-old’s current situation. But Walker has no appetite to push for a move away from the Etihad come summer and will stick with the defending Premier League champions for the 2023/24 campaign.
With Pep Guardiola now favouring using John Stones in an inverted position, Walker has often been consigned to the bench since the turn of the year. And Guardiola has publicly claimed that the 32-year-old does not have the attributes to operate in such a role.
The Catalan coach apparently views youngster Rico Lewis as an ideal successor to Walker but still values the latter’s experience and recovery pace. Guardiola even lauded Walker for his handling of Real Madrid’s tricky winger Vinicius Jr. in the Champions League semi-final first leg.
Although the veteran is no longer an automatic starter for Manchester City, who are still in contention to clinch a historic treble, he is happy to stay and fight for a place in Guardiola’s side for another season. Walker’s willingness to bide his time means he will have his pick of clubs next summer as a free agent.
AC Milan are among a number of European clubs chasing after Walker’s signature. But he has no plans to move abroad and join a European giant. Instead, the England international is planning a homecoming with a move to Bramall Lane.
The Blades are back in the Premier League after securing promotion from the Championship. And they would be more than happy to welcome one of their own back to the club. But the veteran full-back must be a free agent and take a hefty pay cut for it to be realistic amid their financial problems.
Indeed, it will be a huge coup for the South Yorkshire club if this rumour materialises in future. Walker is regarded as one of the finest right-backs of his generation, having earned 75 senior caps for England. Needless to say, Paul Heckingbottom’s side will be keeping close tabs on Walker’s situation at the Etihad and will consider making a move for the boyhood Blade should they can stay up next season.
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