Kyle Walker sale to Manchester City is bad news for Tottenham
Manchester City have completed the signing of Kyle Walker from Tottenham for about £50 million -- a record fee for a defender and an English player.
Mauricio Pochettino has repeatedly said the club will only sell the players they want to, and on paper, there are reasons to think it is a good deal for Spurs and City.
Walker was plagued by injury problems in 2014-15 and he was never trusted to play three times in a week by Pochettino thereafter. He is a player who relies on his pace and physique, and at 27, those attributes will have begun to diminish by the end of his five-year contract at City. Plus, Spurs have another England international right-back on the books in Kieran Trippier.
Despite all that, it's doubtful selling Walker is a good thing for Tottenham. Here are four reasons why:
Spurs have strengthened a rival
Manchester City finished one place and eight points behind Spurs last season, and the biggest difference between the teams -- aside from calamity keeper Claudio Bravo -- was in defence. In selling Walker, Spurs have weakened themselves and strengthened a rival, helping City to close that gap. The deal also sends out the wrong message; that Spurs are open for business with richer Premier League rivals, even if that is not generally the case.
Trippier is a downgrade
There's an ongoing effort to rewrite history by some Spurs fans, who've admirably convinced themselves that Trippier finished last season as first choice. Yes, Trippier started the FA Cup semifinal and the emotional matches against Arsenal and Manchester United, but only after Walker's head had been turned.
The former Burnley defender has started 11 league games since he joined Spurs and four of those have been against Watford. He's never been first-choice because he is not as good as Walker. Given Pochettino's talent for coaching players, particularly full-backs, Trippier will probably improve, but the rest of the Premier League was terrified of facing Danny Rose and Walker, and it will not be the same now.
... And Spurs will struggle to buy an upgrade
Spurs could, of course, spend all or most of the cash on a new and improved right-back. But whenever Spurs sell a Ferrari, they are quickly ushered into the Audi garage. Any £30-50m full-back will demand wages higher than Spurs can pay (at least until that new stadium is finished) and Walker's replacement will either be a calculated risk -- like 23-year-old never-played-in-England Ricardo Pereira -- or a proven Premier League player who is solid but unspectacular, like Ben Davies or Trippier.
It will demoralise the squad
In one respect, footballers are not so very different from supporters: new signings give them a lift. Returning to preseason to find a couple of new and improved players in the squad puts a spring in everyone's step. But returning to find that one of the best players of last season has been sold and no new signings have arrived will leave the Spurs squad a little flat, particularly if they depart for the United States on Wednesday without having made a signing. A low mood at the start of preseason can be difficult to lift.
Dan is ESPN FC's Tottenham correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Dan_KP.