Manchester United, Kyle Walker, and fanciful transfer chatter 2

The Mail have published a story this morning that claims that Tottenham right-back Kyle Walker is of interest to Manchester United and will be one of Louis Van Gaal’s targets over the Summer.

Not to be cynical, but the number of players who are supposedly ‘on Van Gaal’s list’ seems to double by the week.

Had this story appeared a year ago, the consensus would have been that Walker absolutely wasn’t good enough to play for Manchester United, but since returning from long-term injury he has added some much-needed defensive balance to his game.

Prior to 2014, Walker was the archetypal modern fullback: exceptional going forward, frequently a liability in his own half.  However, he supposedly spent part of his rehabilitation from lower abdominal surgery studying the weaknesses in his game and attempting to improve the cerebral parts of his game.

It’s worked, too.  He is still prone to the occasional lapse, but the improvement in his defensive abilities is very apparent.

So, yes, Manchester United could conceivably be interested.

It’s worth noting, however, that Walker - who will turn 25 in May - has four years to run on his current contract and it will likely take a very large fee to convince Tottenham to sell.  Spurs do have the recently arrived DeAndre Yedlin in reserve, but the American is nowhere near ready to compete for a first-team role or to even be considered as a viable alternative to Walker.

In Daniel Levy’s eyes - and presumably Mauricio Pochettino’s - Walker is an essential part of the first-team and with no contract pressure in-play, it’s difficult to see how Manchester United could get any kind of value from signing him.

This is a different situation to Luke Shaw.  Shaw is six years younger than Walker and United were willing to overpay for him in the knowledge that he could be a member of their first-team for most of the next decade.  Conversely, the Tottenham full-back maybe has three or four years of his athletic prime remaining and, realistically, that makes him an unlikely target.

United couldn’t pull this off without getting mugged financially - and, ultimately, there are better, more economic options available to them.

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