Sources: Levy 'Surrender' over £15m Spurs demand, Southampton wowed by new signing
As Dele Alli and Danny Rose know only too well, life at Tottenham can get deeply uncomfortable if you’re not in Jose Mourinho’s good books.
Another Englishman given the cold shoulder by the Portugese has bounced back from his freeze-out at Spurs to ignite his career with some red-hot displays.
Kyle Walker-Peters is at the heart of the Southampton transformation that has rocketed them to the Premier League summit for the first time ever after their 2-0 win over Newcastle United last night.
He became a permanent Saint in August when he signed a five-year contract after impressing while on loan in the second half of last season.
The fee was £12million for the right-back after Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy eventually, as one recruitment source puts it, “surrendered” over his longstanding £15m valuation.
That appeared decent money for Spurs, given that Mourinho had made up his mind early to listen to offers for the 23-year-old and he had played 24 times for their first team after graduating from the youth ranks.
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But it is Southampton who believe they have got a bargain.
Not that it has been all plain sailing for Walker-Peters on the south coast.
When he initially joined Southampton on loan back in January, the multi-capped England Under-21 international was carrying a hamstring injury and took some time to adjust to Ralph Hasenhuttl’s methods.
It was not until after the lockdown in June that Walker-Peters established himself as the first choice right-back in the team.
Southampton had seen enough to get a deal done.
But the pandemic changed the picture of football’s finances and Levy eventually backed down.
Southampton’s patience is being rewarded.
The player who claimed he would still be at Tottenham if Mauricio Pochettino was their manager has started all eight of their Premier League matches this season, and finished them all, too.
England are ludicrously well blessed with outstanding right-backs, and they could have another one at Southampton, who is proving Mourinho wrong at the same time.