Kyle Walker has revealed he is close to joining Bayern Munich in the summer but will now sign a new contract at Manchester City.
The City right-back attracted keen interest from the German giants in the final season and coupled with uncertainty about his future at the Etihad Stadium, he admitted he was seriously tempted.
The 33-year-old went through a spell of disfavor last spring and, despite reclaiming his starting place towards the end of the season in which he won the treble, was not called up in the starting XI for June’s Champions League final.
As he entered the final year of his contract, Bayern caused a stir with an attractive package, but when City later offered an alleged two-year extension, Walker opted to stay put.
“It was close, but things can happen in football,” said Walker. “Decisions can be made, things can change. It should not be.
“Would I have enjoyed the experience? Of course I would, but this is a great club and you can’t underestimate what this club has achieved over the last six or seven years.
“Why would I walk away if I want to get enough playing time that’s right for me? This is all I want.
“It was about who gave me the most years. It wasn’t like I was moving to a worse club because Bayern Munich is a huge club and given what Harry (Kane) is doing and will be doing there it wasn’t a step backwards.
“In the back of my mind I always wanted to play for Manchester City but I had to do what was right for me and my future. It was all about which club gave me the years in my contract to play football at the highest level.”
Speculation of a Walker-Bayern link was most intense in July when City played the Bundesliga club during a friendly in July.
To his surprise at the time, Walker not only started for City but also took on the captain’s armband.
He said: “I’m a Manchester City player. I’m under contract with them, so what should I do? Turn around and say, “I’m not playing because I want to force a move to Bayern Munich”?
“It’s not me as a person. I have a contract with the club and will play for the club until the contract (ends) or they sell me – and I wasn’t sold.”
Walker, who joined City from Tottenham in 2017, said confirmation of the new deal that would sign him to the reigning Premier League champions was imminent.
“Overtime is upon us,” said Walker, who owns five title-winning medals. “It’s my seventh season here and I feel like one of the old guys.
“I love the place. I’ve seen things here that I only dreamed of – especially last season – so why would you want to leave a club like this?”
Walker is also keen to take over as City captain full-time as manager Pep Guardiola plans to hold a squad vote in the coming weeks to determine Ilkay Gundogan’s replacement.
He said: “The vote has not yet taken place. They happily do this after the transfer window closes.
“It’s a privileged honor, of course I want it. If you can’t pass on your knowledge and life experiences on or off the pitch, then I shouldn’t play at such a great club.”