Pep Guardiola’s move that persuaded Kyle Walker to reject Man City transfer exit revealed.
Kyle Walker’s future at Manchester City looked to be over after he was snubbed from last season’s Champions League final and he came close to joining Bayern Munich in the summer.
Erling Haaland’s latest goalscoring masterclass kept champions Manchester City on course for a fourth successive Premier League title.
While the 23-year-old’s goals will be crucial to City’s push for fresh glory this season, the experienced heads in the squad will be just as important.
Kyle Walker, now in his seventh season at City, came close to leaving for Bayern Munich in the summer, but opted to stay after a heart-to-heart with boss Pep Guardiola. After losing his first-choice right-back status last season and failing to start the Champions League final win over Inter Milan, Walker considered moving on in the wake of City’s Treble triumph.
But the 33-year-old, captain in the absence of the injured Kevin De Bruyne, is now set to sign a new deal until 2026 and prove his enduring value to City. Opening up on how close he came to leaving, Walker said: “I had to do what was right for me and my future and that was whichever club gave me the most years.
“It’s my seventh season here and I feel like one of the old ones – there’s me, Kevin, John [Stones], Bernardo and Eddy [Ederson] from the first couple of seasons when Pep came in.
“I love the place, I’ve experienced things I only dreamt of here – especially last season – so why would you want to leave a club like this?
“It wasn’t like I was going to a worse club, because Bayern is a massive club, and seeing what Harry [Kane] is doing there and will do, it wasn’t a step down. It was just which club gave me the years in my contract to play football at the highest level.
“It was close [joining Bayern]. But in football, things happen, things can turn. It wasn’t meant to be. Would I have enjoyed the experience?
“Of course I would have done. But this club is a great club and you can’t under- estimate what this club has done in the last six or seven years. Why should I walk away if I’m going to get enough game-time that’s right for me? That’s all I want.”
Walker made the decision to stay after dinner with Guardiola – absent from this win as he recovers from back surgery – at a Manchester restaurant convinced him he still had a big role to play at City.
“We’ve got a really good relationship and he was kind enough to invite me out for food,” said Walker. “He paid the bill – for once!
“It was good to know his plans for the future and for this season and what he wants to do. Being one of the senior members – and standing in as captain while Kevin goes through what he’s gone through – it was important to get Pep’s views and put my view of what the lads feel for the season going forward.”
Walker is in the frame to be City captain on a permanent basis when the squad votes after the international break on who should wear the armband.
“It’s an honour, a privilege and of course I want it,” said England star Walker. “If you can’t pass on your knowledge and life experiences on or off the field, I shouldn’t be playing at a great club like this.
“I’m relishing the opportunity. Hopefully I’m stand-in captain until Kevin comes back or I get it officially, but that’s up to the lads and staff.”
City made it four wins from four, Haaland’s hat-trick and further goals from Julian Alvarez and Nathan Ake sealing a comfortable win for the hosts.