Tottenham were on the brink of Champions League glory two years ago. But their failure to clinch the trophy, or any trophy since then, has forced star striker Harry Kane to consider his future. Manchester United are reportedly considering a £150 million bid to test Spurs’ resolve ahead of the summer transfer window.
At the age of 27, Kane is still yet to win a trophy in his Tottenham career despite scoring an impressive 219 goals for the club since his debut in 2012.
Kane is thought to be weighing up a move elsewhere ahead of next season if Tottenham do not qualify for the Champions League, which is almost guaranteed with only three games remaining.
Manchester United are thought to be long-term admirers of Kane and are one of few clubs who could afford to meet his asking price.
But convincing Spurs chairman Daniel Levy to part with his prized asset is difficult enough. Notorious for his tough stance in negotiations, Levy is even more stubborn when dealing with a Premier League rival.
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Son, Ndombele could follow
There is little doubt losing Kane would see a drop-off in Tottenham’s goal returns and the team-mates who feed off his genius would suffer too.
Heung-min Son has formed the deadliest partnerships in recent memory with Kane, with the pair combining each other for 14 goals this season — a Premier League record.
The South Korean is yet to put pen to paper on a new long-term contract and it suggests he is waiting for assurances that Kane won’t be sold before committing.
There is a school of thought exploring how Kane’s departure would perhaps show fellow stars Son and Tanguy Ndombele that the club’s ambitions no longer match their own.
The club cannot allow such a domino effect to dismantle the team Mauricio Pochettino spent years building, starting with selling Kane.
Leaders are difficult to replace
Aside from Hugo Lloris, Tottenham seem to lack genuine leaders on the pitch. Players who step up when required, who get the team going in difficult times and who lead by example with their performances and professionalism.
Kane is a rare breed of footballer that is both a world-class player and also a pleasure to work with. There is no ego to contend with, just a pure hunger to win titles.
He is regarded as a pivotal member of the dressing room and, if he leaves, it leaves the question of who would step up in his absence.
The club have squad members such as Harry Winks and, of course, their interim manager Ryan Mason, who understand the club’s values. But there is no doubt Kane’s departure would be as painful off the pitch as on it.
Lack of options
Who could replace Kane? The answer, quite simply, is no one. His ability to create goals from a deeper No.10 role, as well as put them away in clinical fashion, is unmatched.
Only a handful of strikers can claim to have a similar scoring record over a prolonged time period, Romelu Lukaku is one who comes to mind.
But why would Inter sell a striker who has scored 27 goals in all competitions? And why would the Belgian leave a club who have just won their first league title in a decade?
Realistic options could include Fiorentina starlet Dusan Vlahovic, 21, who has scored 20 goals in Serie A, while Eintracht Frankfurt’s frontman Andre Silva has also been in fine form. But it would represent an expensive risk to sign both players who are unproven in the Premier League.
Relations with fans are already at an all-time low after Spurs opted to join the breakaway European Super League. There has also been strong opposition to charging fans extortionate ticket prices to watch the final home game of the season against Aston Villa.
Selling Kane would be the last nail in Levy’s coffin, at least in the view of the fans. Some players should be priceless, and there is no question that Kane, often hailed as “one of our own” by Spurs supporters, falls under that category.
They signed Carlos Vinicius when Jose Mourinho was in charge, but the Brazilian has only shown glimpses of his ability and was only signed on loan as a back-up option for Kane.
It is clear the 26-year-old does not have the same level of quality in front of goal or around the box as Kane does. Keeping him at the expense of losing Kane would, with all due respect, cause major problems for the Spurs board.