Mauricio Pochettino has said he “cannot confirm” whether Kyle Walker is happy or not at Tottenham Hotspur amid growing speculation over the player’s future, as well as revealing that there will be no internal discussion over the future of his players until the end of the season.
This week the Independent exclusively revealed that Walker has decided that his future lies away from the club, after he was left on the bench for two of the biggest games of Tottenham’s season.
Pochettino elected to play Kieran Trippier in the FA Cup defeat to Chelsea as well as the final north London derby at White Hart Lane against Arsenal, with the manager uncertain whether Walker was physically able to play two matches in one week.
Players who could replace Kyle Walker at Tottenham
Players who could replace Kyle Walker at Tottenham
1/5 Fabinho (Monaco)
At 23 years old, Fabinho is one of Europe’s hottest young defenders and has been on Manchester United’s radar for around two years. He is tall, strong and physically built for the rigors of the Premier League. He is hardworking – an attribute Pochettino holds most highly – and a key member of one of Europe’s stingiest defences. He would be available for around £15-20m.
2/5 Djibril Sidibe (Monaco)
Sidibe is quick, strong and tough tackling and, like Fabinho, is a key member of Monaco’s defence. He is still younger than Walker and is a cheaper alternative to Fabinho, something which Daniel Levy will find attractive. Despite being primarily a right-back, he can also operate on the left and would be available for around £12m – a fraction of what it would take to coax Walker away from White Hart Lane.
3/5 Michail Antonio (West Ham United)
If Spurs could persuade Antonio to cross the London divide and move to White Hart Lane then they would be getting a versatile, hard-working player who is crucially accustomed to the Premier League. While he may not be as exciting as some of the other players on this list, he is proven at this level and would also be replacing a young English talent with a young English talent – something Pochettino values highly. He would likely be more expensive that the others for that English premium though.
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4/5 Nelson Semedo (Benfica)
Semedo was strongly linked with a move to Manchester United in the January transfer window but nothing came of it, although they are likely to go back in for him again in the summer. However, Spurs can offer Champions League football, assuming United fail in their efforts. Semedo is smart and aggressive and positions himself well – something Walker has been let down by in the past. He would be available for a similar price to Sidibe, leaving plenty of money left for other transfers.
5/5 Cedric Soares (Southampton)
Hardly a stand-out candidate but he is a European Championship-winning defender with two years of Premier League football under his belt. He joined for around £5m in 2015 and Southampton would demand around double that now. However the two clubs are on good terms after the transfer of Victor Wanyama last summer, which could help the deal go through.
Walker has been named in Tottenham’s 21-man squad for the Premier League fixture against West Ham on Friday night, but in his press conference ahead of the match Pochettino repeatedly avoided answering questions on the player’s future at the club, instead insisting that all contract talks were off until the end of the season.
“Kyle is on the list for Friday’s match and I cannot confirm whether he is happy or not because these are just rumours, and if I commented on every rumour my press conferences would be two hours long,” Pochettino said.
“But every single player on the squad list for Friday is focused on trying to help the club achieve.”
When asked why Walker had been dropped for two of Tottenham’s biggest games of the season, Pochettino replied: “For me, every game is big. Crystal Palace is a big game and so was Swansea.”
There have been growing rumours this week that the impressive performances of Trippier — who has displaced Walker in Tottenham’s starting XI — will see the player rewarded with an improved new contract.
But Pochettino indicated that the club are not currently concerned with discussing the future of their players until the title-race is run.
“There are no decisions until the end of the season,” he said. “We are focused on trying to finish the season and then on the day after we can speak about all the other things and discuss what will happen next season.”
The Spurs manager also bemoaned the number of transfer rumours surrounding the club in recent weeks.
Tottenham may be second in the Premier League, four points behind league leaders Chelsea with just four games remaining, but according to Pochettino they are already the undisputed champions of spurious transfer talk.
“I understand the rumours and understand the business but it seems that Tottenham are always the trending topic when it comes to rumours,” he added. “We are the champions of rumours.”Reuse content