ESPN pundit and former Liverpool player Steve Nicol has compared Arsenal’s new signing Ben White with Kyle Walker’s departure from Tottenham Hotspur in 2017 (ESPN).
Nicol also defended the English defender’s hefty price tag by suggesting that if Walker was worth £45m then so is Arsenal’s latest recruit.
Walker, who made 229 appearances in all competitions for Tottenham, joined Manchester City in 2017 for an initial fee of £45m (BBC). At the time, the deal made him the most expensive English player ever.
Arsenal announced the signing of the 23-year-old defender for £50m a few days ago. The centre-back was a late call-up to Gareth Southgate’s England Euro 2020 squad due to Trent Alexander-Arnold’s last-minute injury (The Guardian).
The 23-year-old played 36 games in the Premier League last season impressing for Brighton under Graham Potter. He also stood out for Leeds United on loan in 2019/20, making 46 appearances and being a key figure in Marcelo Bielsa’s promotion-winning side.
Some have criticised the large price tag Arsenal had to pay to lure White away from Brighton, but Nicol defended it – using Walker’s departure in 2017 as a comparison.
He said: “I wouldn’t have had no problem if he had started at centre-back for England at the Euros. He’s 23 and you don’t get anything for nothing these days.
“And if Kyle Walker is worth £50 million, what four years ago? Then Ben White’s £50 million. He has got ten years ahead of him.”
This seems like a bit of a strange comparison. Walker was one of the best right-backs in the world at the time and the fee City paid was worth every penny for his service.
White is a big talent, so it is a good signing – but £50 million is a lot of money for someone unproven at the top level, while Walker was at the top level when City paid the money.
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