As news of Harry Kane’s latest remarks regarding his Tottenham future filtered through to Daniel Levy’s office on Sunday, it is unlikely there would have been a sharp intake of breath.
‘I’m fully focused on doing the job on the pitch from now until the end of the summer and then we’ll see where we go from there,’ said Kane. Hardly an admission he wants to leave, but nor was it an unequivocal declaration of commitment.
Therein lies the problem — the uncertainty. Kane’s reluctance to kill talk of a move away from north London speaks volumes. It is no secret the 27-year-old wants to win trophies: titles and Champions Leagues.
Harry Kane’s Tottenham future has been thrust into doubt once again after his latest remarks
Harry Kane’s reluctance to kill talk of a move away from north London speaks volumes
Would he be attracted by a move that would provide him with a chance to compete at the very top? Of course. That will not surprise anyone with Spurs connections.
It is not that Kane desperately wants to leave. It is that he desperately wants to win. That has been a concern since Spurs lost to Liverpool in the 2019 Champions League final. That is a concern with Spurs 23 points off Premier League leaders Manchester City. He is at a stage where he can no longer buy into long-term projects.
Spurs face Manchester City in the Carabao Cup final next month, a chance for Kane to finally win his first trophy. But it is unlikely that would be enough to appease the England captain, one of the best players in the world.
And who can blame him? Missing out on Champions League football for a second season in a row would be a crushing blow. When asked whether another season outside that elite competition could affect Kane staying at the top of his game, his England manager Gareth Southgate expertly dodged the question.
Tottenham are adamant it wouldn’t. And there is evidence to suggest Kane will not lose his edge due to the absence of Champions League football.
He is a player not only driven by the team collective but by achieving his own personal targets. His all-round performances have reached new levels this season — his 23 goals and 17 assists prove the point. He is the complete centre-forward.
It is no secret the 27-year-old wants to win trophies: titles and Champions Leagues
But even if his own game did not dip and he kept setting new personal targets, that could not sustain him forever.
If Kane is asking himself whether he can achieve his lofty ambitions at the club where he is idolised, the answer appears simple.
Yet Kane has been at Spurs long enough to know nothing is simple when Levy and the transfer market are involved. There is firm interest from Europe’s elite clubs: Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus, Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United.
However, sources claim the Tottenham chairman will refuse to entertain interest from domestic rivals — a stance that halves Kane’s options at a stroke.
Sources claim the Tottenham chairman will refuse to entertain interest from domestic rivals
Even then the club are so reluctant for him to leave that they are expected to set an asking price of £150million — a fee Real, Juve and PSG would baulk at, given the financial implications caused by Covid.
Even though Kane does not rely on pace and his ability to reinvent his game should mean he has five more years at his peak, the emergence of Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe also affect his future. At 20 and 22 respectively, they offer greater longevity and resale value.
With three years left on Kane’s contract, Levy can call the shots. If he did agree to sell, you can trust it would be on his terms: full asking price, no players in exchange — cold hard cash. Meeting those demands is far easier said than done in the current climate.
Kane is a player not only driven by team collective but by achieving his own personal targets
There is a sense at Spurs that the summer of 2022, when he enters the final two years of his contract, might be the time they finally bid farewell. Whether a knock on Levy’s door at the end of this season alters that stance remains to be seen.
But even if Kane made his feelings clear, he wouldn’t down tools — he is too professional and respectful to a club he has an obvious emotional bond with.
In many ways Kane has become a victim of his own success. He would improve any team. But those services come at a price — a particularly high one when Levy is calling the tune.
Micah Richards and Chris Sutton’s England XI
In Saturday’s Sportsmail we asked our columnists Micah Richards and Chris Sutton to choose their team for England’s opening European Championship game against Croatia, in light of Gareth Southgate saying he knows his XI.
Needless to say, the duo could not agree. We asked you for your say on their selections. And if it were a boxing match, Chris would have had to throw in the towel by now and Micah would be holding the belt aloft.
Marauding Micah took 77 per cent of the vote with his attacking 4-3-3 that got Phil Foden, Jack Grealish, Mason Mount, Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling on the pitch.
Cautious Chris was a turn-off with his two holding midfielders and three centre halves.