Gareth Taylor has admitted that Manchester City’s sale of Keira Walsh to Barcelona did catch the club ‘on the back foot’, but explained they allowed her to move on once her valuation was met to prevent any unrest.
Walsh was the subject of a number of rebuffed Barcelona bids during the transfer window, before Manchester City eventually agreed to sell to the Spanish champions for a world record transfer fee – believed to be in excess of £400,000.
The central midfielder completed her move the day before the transfer window closed, bringing an end to her eight years with City. Her contract had been due to expire in the summer of 2023.
“It came quite late in the window, I think that’s down to Barcelona, that’s kind of nothing to do with us,” Taylor explained. “I always believe that you want players who want to be here. Keira had given eight years, eight solid years of service and probably her last season developed into one of the best seasons she had at the club, and on the international stage.
“I think when you have that and another project comes along, it’s a real opportunity for her, the last thing you want is a player who’s going to stay because we’ve made the decision that we’re not going to take a world record fee and being really disgruntled. I don’t think anyone really gains from that.
“We tried to support Keira as best we possibly could while trying not to kill ourselves. I think some of the earlier bids were of that kind where we’re like: we’re not comfortable with that. Towards the end there was really aggressive bidding from them and the more it seemed like that was going to be the situation so the last thing we wanted was a disgruntled player.”
Walsh is one of eight players to have departed City during the transfer window – a number of them regular starters – while seven high profile additions have been made in a summer of high turnover at the Academy Stadium.
Taylor admitted that it was just the departure of Walsh and the retirement of Ellen White that caught the club ‘on the back foot’ recruitment-wise.
“I’d ask them [the supporters] to be patient because I think we’ve really invested in the future with these players,” Taylor added. “I think there was naturally going to be a fair size turnover at some point when you look at the nature of the group that left.
“They’d given really good service, three of them have retired so with that we had to be on the front foot with our recruitment, and we were. The ones that probably just took us a little bit on the back foot were probably Ellen and Keira.
“But Keira’s given eight years of service. It’s worth looking at why these players are being picked up from us; it’s because they’re in a good place and developed really well. Keira had given really good service, she wanted to go on and take this challenge, and we received a record fee for her, so it shows that we’re doing something right here at the club, as much as it is disappointing to lose a player like that because she’s a quality player. “