Kyle Walker is $4 a gallon gas

Kyle Walker made 1464 passes last season. Of all of the passes he made, 96 of those were crosses. That’s a cross attempted every 28 minutes.

Of his 96 crosses attempted, just 13 of them were successful – 13 times in all of last season, Kyle Walker crossed the ball and successfully connected with a teammate. That’s a successful cross every 208 minutes. One successful cross every 2.3 matches.

Of his 13 successful crosses, just nine were converted into shots. Walker created 38 shots last season, which is just 1 more than Phillip Lahm, but the important number here is crosses. Because of the 9 shots which came from Walker’s crosses, just three were scored as a goal. He had a total of 5 assists last season but a majority of his assists, as they have done all his career, have come from crosses. He may supply the final ball every once in a while but his real “killer” pass is his cross.

When it comes to his main job, defense, both Nathaniel Clyne and Cedric Soares did more for Liverpool and Southampton respectively than Walker did for Tottenham. In fact, those three players are virtually indistinguishable from each other when I put their basic stats side by side:

Shots 0.6 0.7 0.7
Key passes 1.2 1.2 1.3
Dribbles 1.1 0.6 0.4
Tackles 2.2 2.2 2.8
Was Dribbled 0.5 0.6 0.7
Interceptions 1.2 1.2 1.1

Kyle Walker is on the left.

If you want to point to where Kyle Walker stands out on that table you would say dribbles. Kyle Walker made 35/65 dribbles last season. That’s 1 successful dribble every 77 minutes.

Man City have just shelled out £53m for a dribble a game. £53m for a key pass a game. £53m for 9 good crosses a season. £53m for 5 assists. And that’s just nuts. I don’t even know what money’s worth anymore. And surely paying this much money for a player has to have some kind of effect on the British economy. I mean, if Kyle Walker costs £53m, how much is a Mars Bar? £53m?

I know that the owners of Man City probably make £50m a minute. They also probably don’t care how much money they spend on players because they bought Man City as a way to get money out of their country. So when they overpay for a player, it doesn’t matter: if they were going to launder the money the old fashioned way they would get pennies on the dollar, what does it matter if they pay £50m for a player who is only worth £10 or £5m? If they sell him in a rush, they still have £5m! And with Qatar on the verge of war with its neighbors, spending £50m on Kyle Walker so that they can be certain to have £5m in pocket is a great investment.

It’s also possible that this is just what things cost now. I probably sound like Andy Rooney, an old man with bushy eyebrows who used to be on television’s 60 Minutes, complaining about the way things used to be but I remember when gas was less than a buck a gallon. I filled up the tank of my little Ford Fiesta for $10 in 1991.

I also remember when the price of a gallon of gas went over $4 and stayed there. That was between 2008 and 2011. Gas prices are now back down to a “normal” $2.50. But despite the inflated prices, prices inflated by war and greed, when we needed gas, we bought $4 gas.

Man City needed a right back. They got one who is English and helps them with their affirmative action quota for Englishmen. Sure, they paid about 4x too much for him but with all of the TV money coming in to the Premier League even Arsenal are spending ridiculous amounts of money on relatively poor defenders. So while £53m looks like way too much, maybe Kyle Walker is just $4 a gallon gas.


P.S. One odd thing I turned up in my research is the fact that since 2013/14 Arsenal have spent (net) on transfers £260m. In that same time, Man City have spent (net) on transfers £209.5m — just for defenders.

Sources: transfermarkt, whoscored


  1. “they bought Man City as a way to get money out of their country”??

    Seriously? I haven’t come to expect casual racism from this blog.

    1. Huh? How is that racist? Diversification is a basic idea of doing business, and football offers the benefits of being both very visible and very shady.

      It might be a ‘conspiracy theory’ if you like, but a racist argument it is not.

    2. The point of clubs like Chelsea and City is for their rich owners to get their money out of their country and into a safer investment. That may be slanderous but it’s hardly racist.

      1. Tim, would you also say that Silent Stan instead in Arsenal to “get money out of their country”? Would you also say the same about Abramovich?

        If not, you’re being racist against the Qatari owners by saying that the reason they invested in City was so that they could “get money out of their country”

        Implying that brown people only invest in British clubs so that they can “get money out of their country” is downright racist.

        1. *invested not instead (typo)

          If you think it’s only the Qataris who invested in British clubs to get money out of “their country” and don’t think the same way about Kroenke or Abramovich, that’s downright racist.

    3. How is that racist? I’m so sick of any uncomfortable truth that might be told of anyone who isn’t white as “racist”.

      It’s a well established fact that Russian oligarchs and third-world billionaires are buying football clubs in Europe as a way of shielding their fortunes from political instability and diminishing resources in their native countries. Matthew Syed got into a bit of heat writing about this back in 2013.

      1. The accusation of racism against Tim’s comment is ridiculous, but while I may be reading too much into your Reagan avatar, this notion from some conservative minded Americans that “any uncomfortable truth that might be told of anyone who isn’t white as ‘racist'” is wildly overstated. This false notion and an aversion to “political correctness” is a big part of the reaction that gave us an actual racist in the White House. Actual racism is real to those of us who sometimes feel the sting of it.

        Many folks, particularly on the right, are less than comfortable that they can’t talk in the lingo of the not so recent past. Good thing too. It’s called polite society.

  2. Jonathan Wilson at the Guardian has written with similar incredulity at Walker’s price tag, even though he reckons Walker was the “best right-back in the Premier League last season.”

    Tim, I notice you only did the numbers for Walker’s attacking abilities (crosses and dribbles). What are his defensive numbers? And what’s his passing accuracy?

    My sense is that he’s probably better than you make out here, though I’m certainly not suggesting he isn’t overhyped and overpriced.

    Indeed, the insane price reflects three things: a) Walker is English, b) there are prices for clubs like City, and there are prices for other clubs (the difference is probably £10-15m in this case), and c) Walker was hyped by the English media all of last season. Did I mention Walker is English?

    This does make me wonder, though, about the Alexis-to-City rumors. Suddenly, Arsenal’s demand of £80m doesn’t sound that unreasonable given the interested party! Imagine if Alexis was English… £100m. Easy!

    1. I’m confused. I put his tackles and interceptions numbers in that grid above.. he’s the exact same as the other two right backs I listed.

      I didn’t include passing accuracy because Spurs are intentionally a poor passing team (they are actually a kick and rush team) so his passing %s are in the 70s.

      I agree on Walker’s cost. Let’s look at comparable players. Daniel Carvajal has a market value of 30m Euros according to Transfermarkt. Sergi Roberto is Barcelona’s right back. His market value according to transfermarkt is 25m Euros. Walker’s market value is 30m Euros. According to Transfermarkt, City “only” paid 51m Euros. So, they paid a 21m Euro English transfer tax.

      And yeah, 80m for Alexis is a steal.

      1. Ah, my apologies. Missed that. So the first column is Clyne, the second is Soares, and the third is Walker? And comparably, do those three stand out in the league? I.e., maybe Walker is little different than them defensively, but if they’re in the top five or so of right-backs in the league with those numbers, then that’s something.

        I’m just trying to understand why Walker would command such a fee / estimation, even accounting for the insanity of transfer fees in the new market.

        1. (and even accounting for his passport…it can’t all be passport, can it?)

      2. I don’t see Spurs as a kick-and-rush team. I thought they regularly were in the mid-60’s for possession percentage during games. There were a couple games where they were in the 70s. I don’t think that’s characteristic of a kick and rush team a la Leicester.

        1. Weird… I was going by the numbers when they play against top teams. In those games they are VERY Leicesterish but you’re right, across the season they were 5th in passing % and 3rd in possession.

          In that case, his 79% passing (Spurs average 82.5%) looks very average if not downright troubling.

          Weird. Why did City pay £50m for a 27 year old who has never put up impressive defensive numbers and who isn’t even really good at crossing or dribbling? This deal gets weirder by the minute.

          1. That’s probably a big reason why Pocchetino preferred Trippier to Walker the last third of the season. Trippier is a better fullback.

            I honestly think City just desperately need homegrown players for the quota. Walker ticked two boxes for them; right back and homegrown.

  3. $2.50 for a gallon. Comes to…. Hmm.. 43 INR per litre. You lucky b***ards. What are you complaining about?

    Do you really think Saudi Arabia and UAE will go to war with Qatar? I suppose they could but I think it unlikely, and Qatar are rich enough to buy themselves a worthy army as well. (Also, Saudis and Qataris are jointly fighting in Yemen)

    Not sure what to say about Walker, but if he’s worth 53m to ManCity, then maybe Arsenal’s 80m demand for Alexis isn’t high enough? The HG quota might help explain the price a bit, but prices for English clubs, especially when buying within England are just crazy now. I suppose Pep thinks Walker fits the style he wants to play with the fullbacks pushing up and sometimes into midfield. If they can sort out their defense they will be favourites to win the title.

    1. Pretty sure (someone correct me if I’m wrong) Walker wasn’t entering the final year of his contract. Alexis is. Obviously, if Kyle Walker costs 50m and Alexis is on a longer contract, then by parity of reasoning, he should cost City like 200m.

  4. Walker was made to look better than he is by Pochettino’s system.

    Pep is a great coach too, and he might well improve Walker’s overall game, especially in possession, but in City’s team Walker is likely to look out of his depth skill-wise alongside their forwards, and in defense he’s much, much, much more likely to get exposed by quick counterattacking teams than he was at Spurs.

    1. Pep loves for his fullbacks to squeeze into the interior and not run the flanks. He parks his wingers out super wide to stretch the opponent’s back line, so Walker will not be asked to do a lot of crossing methinks. It will be interesting how Pep uses him. I think he likes Walker for his speed and ability to press, Guardiola is obsessive about stopping counter attacks which is the bane of a possession-oriented team and Walker should help.

  5. Let’s be honest – that’s a good bit of business by Spurs. Walker wasn’t even their first choice right back at the end of the season. They are laughing. It’s reminiscent of when we sold City Adebayor and Clichy for outrageous money.

    I worry about Spurs. They seem to be crafting a sustainable model there; decent academy, manager who is willing to thrown young players into the first team, sell the 2nd class players off and use the proceeds to retain the Kanes and Alis. Next they’re about to get 50m for Dier from Man Utd, a lumbering CB wannabe that Mourinho is going to try and park in midfield.

    1. So that’s a neat total of £100MM from the sale of two decent but not great players. Gotta give them credit for that. I hope that don’t take that money and put in a bid for Lemar. Apparently they were in for him earlier.

      1. I think they’re trying to pawn Lamela off as well. Spurs might pay off the new stadium pretty quickly.

        1. By far the biggest advantage Spurs have over Arsenal in that regard is that they aren’t expected to win the title. So all of their achievements will be treated as just that.

          Apparently Spurs’ stadium is to cost 800m, so double of ours. At some point selling players comes back to haunt you. (We were very happy with the sales we managed for a while too)

          Meanwhile, let’s see how they fare playing on the bigger and more unfamiliar Wembley pitch. Arsenal didn’t do so well in our CL games there, and Spurs’ style of play is dependent enough on a smaller pitch that they tried to get dispensation to reduce it. If the refs start calling them for their foul play too then they might have a drop off in performance.

          1. I agree. They are going to struggle with the size of their pitch next season. Should be fun!

      2. This is a great (and ominous) point.

        We’ll probably get stuck in our attempt to sign Lemar because we won’t be willing to go over like 55m, and Spurs can then swoop in with say a 70m offer, the way United did to Chelsea for Lukaku, and they’d still have 30m in the bank from Dier and Walker. Lemar reportedly prefers us to Spurs, but if Monaco only sanction a sale to them, I wouldn’t be surprised if he changed his tune.

      1. I honestly think £100m for selling Walker and Dier might be the best piece of transfer business in history, and this is coming from an Arsenal fan (obviously). The only deal that I can think of that even comes close is Inter getting Eto’o and like 40m (or something; it was a lot of money, especially in 2009) for Ibra.

        They won’t even be significantly weaker, so it’s like free money. Even in this market, they can replace a right back and a defensive utility player for a fraction of the cost if they have even half decent scouting on the continent. And this is a team that finished second last year, and won all but one of like their last 8 or 9 games.

        This makes it all the more infuriating that we might be pressured into letting a player like the Ox go for 25-30m (those rumors have gone quiet recently, but I still worry). Some of us are bigger fans of his than others, but few could deny he’s got way more natural talent and potential than either of those two Spurs players, and he’s still young enough to fulfill it. If they’re both going for 50m, then a player of his talent, age, position(s), and passport should be going for at least that much.

        I pointed this out in a couple of places (e.g. Arseblog) a few weeks ago and got shouted down by other commenters. I made the comparison to Sterling and Stones, who both went for 50m. Others replied that the Ox is nowhere near as good as Sterling. While I think this is false, I admit that the Ox this summer is not the kind of hot property that Sterling was in his final year at Liverpool. But the important point is that that was two summers ago. This summer is INSANE, as the Walker and (potential) Dier sales prove. I can’t BELIEVE we didn’t even make an effort to sign Ox up to a new contract before this summer. Even if the club weren’t sure they wanted to keep him, they had to realize that a young English player like that was an asset they had to tie down to a longterm contract. It’s just ridiculous mis-management. Absolute bush league.

    2. Gael Clichy – Arsenal to City for £7m for 6 years service. I’ll let you do the mathematics.

    3. Oh and £25m for Adebayor was worth it for that goal celebration and teh Arsenal fans reaction alone. I’m still chuckling at it now.

  6. Sorry, but, which defender bought by Arsenal are you talking about ? The one they got this summer came on a free….

    Other then that, good piece. Considering the fact that City seem to have understood they won’t get Sanchez and are now going after Mbappé, I kind of smile thinking of how Wenger has just raised the bar so high they will I believe, have to break the bank to get him. At some point all these expenses are going to come back to haunt them.

  7. Speaking of Man City (and with apologies to those who’ve already seen it), an Italian magazine just voted this the worst 20 seconds of football ever:

  8. Football is in a bubble, but hopefully it’s unsustainable and when it bursts, it’ll take some clubs down. That sounds awful, but financial doping is a cancer in the sport. FIFA needs to get truly serious about Financial Fair Play, and legislate the sugardaddies buying trophies out of existence. Inflation is killing the sport.

    I expressed astonishment at Walker’s transfer price a couple of threads ago. It is a completely unjustifiable price. FFS we bought Sanchez for 30m four or so seasons ago! I’d love it if we got Mbappe, but I’m kind of relieved that we’re likely not going to drop 9 figures on a single footballer.

    Tim/anyone, how do financial caps work in the NBA? I read a story recently that Kevin Durant had to settle for less money, because he wanted the Warriors to be able to keep players like Iaguodala. Is football alone in this nuttiness?

    1. Yup, just like the metaphor on Gas, the bubble will eventually burst.

      The Gas bubble was built on Chinese economy. When the country’s economy slowed down and the government actually started to get serious with air pollution, the price of Gas went south along with new supply from fracking.

      I know most folks will view environmental protection in China cynically, but from what I do know, they are enforcing it. In typical brutish and heavy handed manner of course.

  9. Wow. You’re a retard.

    I hope Man City and their owners sue you for every single penny you own for this libelous bullshit.

    Ps – Enjoy Thursday nights and the Europa League and a few more seasons of Arsene.

  10. In the Walker to City transfer there are more than usual number of premiums you might see around the PL.
    Her are a few others not mentioned yet.

    First, there’s the Manchester premium. Let’s face it, Manchester isn’t the greatest destination as a city and definitely less desirable than London. We’ve seen this at play with United over the years as well.
    Geography is only the first aspect of it though, the second is their wealth and willingness to overpay for players to achieve success.

    Then you have the Levy premium.
    Say what you will about the Spurs but you can’t deny one fact that Levy has a reputation for being a tough mather when it comes to transfer negotiations and many have said they wouldn’t mind to see him take on the role of Britain’s finance minister.

    And finally you have the Guardiola premium.
    Pep isn’t the type to build his squad patiently over the period of three or four years.
    In fact, I seriously doubt he’ll be with City in four years time, such is his intensity and attention span when attaching himself to a club.
    Besides, he may not be a dick like Mourinho but he’s got to protect his “winners” reputation at all cost, and if he doesn’t win the league this year or the next at the very latest, he’ll be declared a failure by many and that’s not something he’s looking forward to, no matter what he might’ve said in the past about not caring about what others say about him.

    As for Walker’s ability to defend, one thing I haven’t seen being mentioned above is his in your face style of defending, which reminds me of ,in their prime ,Dany Alves, or Carlos Alberto’s.
    Walker isn’t as skillful as the two Brazilians on the offensive side of football of course but his pace and feistiness allows him to defend one on one at very close quarters.
    He’s also borderline “dirty” and quick to stick up for a teammate, which is not something Arsenal fans appreciate, but could be a tremendous asset when building a winning team.

  11. Walker frankly is not bad and should cost 20m+ under ‘normal’ circumstances eg 2 years ago. If Man City can afford it good for ’em.

    It’d be fun to therefore estimate what Bellerin may cost based on similar stats although he isn’t English. Just a gutstimate, i’d say Arsenal should value Bellerin at 75m if Barca comes knocking again…. age on his side if all tech-else being equal.

  12. Walker to City transfer is full of premiums and special hidden taxes most PL transfers lack.
    There’s the most obvious Man City oil riches tax.
    Then there’s the top four contender to another top four contender tax.
    Then there’s the Levy – arguably the toughest negotiator in all of football- premium.
    And last but not least there’s the Guardiola premium, which in essence means that everyone knows Pep has to win now or face being labeled a failure.
    What are the odds on Pep staying at City past his 3year contract if he fails to win the PL and perhaps even the CL after given unlimited funds? I’d say very low.

    £50m for Walker is probably twice more than he should be worth in any other scenario but there’s a lot to like about him as a player if you shed your Arsenal\Spurs bias.
    His stamina, speed and quickness are obvious attributes in a close one on one defending, but equally important are his border-line dirty and in your face attitude.
    To put it bluntly, Walker takes $hit from no one and that’s a far cry from Arsenal fullbacks for example.

    1. Not sure you would want to say that last sentence to the face of our new left wing back.

  13. Tim, transfer fees go crazy as the years go by, millions of dollars/pounds/euros for human beings doesn’t sound apt. Referring to a post you wrote almost a week back around Alexis Sanchez, I read the below article on four four two and made me think maybe Alexis isn’t worth the trouble after all:

    The article has some flaws in the way it maybe misreads his passion to be theatrics. Watching any game start to finish from last season, its clear he gives a lot on the pitch. On the other hand, it may also be detrimental to the overall level of the team.

    With the latest statements he gave in an interview to a local radio station, if the club can get rid of him proving once and for all that the club stays bigger than him, it may as well prove to be a boost in the dressing room wherein players indulge speaking about the game & not one person’s reactions.

    I don’t know what your views are & other readers’ views but, it may well be worth getting a Reus kind of player to replace Alexis and not indulging in all this talk.

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