It was reported last week that Harry Kane is considering his future at Tottenham. Last Sunday’s defeat by Manchester United will have done little to convince him to stay. For the eighth time this season Spurs failed to protect a lead and ended up dropping points. The loss leaves them five adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea with seven games left to play.
Those stories linking Kane with the exit door suggested a failure to qualify for the Champions League would see the Tottenham talisman push to depart. The next few weeks are therefore even more crucial for the club than they otherwise would have been. Despite the considerable focus on this month’s League Cup final against Manchester City, a top-four finish should be Tottenham’s priority from here on in.
If Spurs miss out on the Champions League, Kane will not be short of suitors. He has enjoyed a magnificent season despite his team’s struggles, scoring 19 goals in the Premier League and providing 13 assists. No player in the division has bettered either tally.
Manchester United and Manchester City have both been linked. Real Madrid will no doubt take a look. Bayern Munich may view the England international as the perfect long-term successor to Robert Lewandowski, who turns 33 later this year.
Kane has a problem, though. He still has three years left to run on his contract, which means Spurs are under little pressure to sell. Chairman Daniel Levy, a notoriously tough negotiator, will not want to lose the club’s prized asset. Tottenham would be unable to sign a replacement of similar quality to Kane, who is among the world’s best strikers. It would also send out a negative message to other Spurs players and potential recruits. The likes of Son Heung-min would be less likely to stick around if Kane was no longer in north London.
All of that would not matter so much if Kane had 12 months left to run on his contract. The power would shift from the club to the player in such a scenario. Levy would almost certainly rather cash in on Kane than risk him losing Tottenham’s best player on a free transfer. The striker would also have a wider choice of clubs, with most of Europe’s major sides likely to be in the running.
As it is, Kane’s contractual situation could in effect price him out of a move. Levy is said to value him between £120m and £150m. Only two players, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, have cost more than the latter sum in football history – and that was before a pandemic ravaged the game’s finances. In the current climate, perhaps only the two Manchester clubs could afford him, and both United and City are thought to be chasing Erling Haaland, who is seven years younger than Kane and could be available for a smaller fee.
It would be interesting to know if Kane now regrets his decision to sign a six-year contract with Spurs in 2018. The striker put pen to paper just weeks before he won the Golden Boot at the World Cup in Russia, an achievement that only boosted his global standing.
Tottenham were continuing to make progress under Mauricio Pochettino back then and Kane’s new deal brought a significant pay rise, but he will be almost 31 by the time it expires. It may have been wiser for the England international to sign for three or four years; Tottenham would hardly have walked away from negotiations had he insisted on that point.
Long contracts can sometimes come back to bite clubs, as Real Madrid have found with Gareth Bale. In the case of Kane, though, it has put Spurs in a strong position. Even if they miss out on the Champions League, expect Kane to be leading the line for Tottenham next season.
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