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David Meyler: Kane is the most complete centre forward in the world right now

This week, our columnist looks at the Spurs striker’s options and gives his prediction for their Premier League clash with Man United.

The Spurs striker has 19 goals and 13 assists in the Premier League this season.
The Spurs striker has 19 goals and 13 assists in the Premier League this season.
Image: PA

EX-IRELAND INTERNATIONAL David Meyler is The42′s football columnist for this season.

Every Friday, the former Hull City and Sunderland midfielder will give expert insight and his predictions ahead of the weekend’s Premier League action, alongside the latest William Hill prices.

In his latest column, Meyler discusses Harry Kane’s future ahead of Tottenham’s meeting with Manchester United, before addressing last week’s prediction in relation to Chelsea’s freak defeat at the hands of West Brom. 

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 Tottenham v Man United, 4.30pm Sunday

As we head into the business end of the season, it looks as though the final stages of the Premier League Golden Boot race will be contested by two former winners. 

Tottenham’s Harry Kane is currently out in front on 19 goals, with Liverpool talisman Mohammed Salah just one behind him and Manchester United midfielder Bruno Fernandes further back on 16. 

It shouldn’t come as a surprise, as either Kane or Salah have been crowned the division’s top scorer in four of the last five years — picking up the award on two occasions each prior to Jamie Vardy’s success last term. 

What is notable is that their respective clubs have not hit the heights expected of them this year and Liverpool and Spurs both sit outside the Champions League spots on 49 points after 30 games. 

Salah has remained prolific despite a really poor showing from the Reds as defending Premier League champions. 

However, what sets Kane’s numbers apart from the rest is the fact that no one else has created as many goals as him (13), as he also leads the assist charts in this campaign. 

For me, he is the most complete centre forward in the world right now. There will be plenty of people who won’t agree with that statement, but bear with me. Who are the world-class strikers who spring to mind on current form?

You’ve got Bayern Munich’s No.9 Robert Lewandowski, a fantastic goalscorer who probably would have won the Ballon d’Or last year if the award had not been cancelled. The Polish international’s stats are off the charts and he was sorely missed by the Bavarians in Wednesday’s Champions League defeat to Paris Saint-Germain.

Another one you could look at is Karim Benzema, who is still Real Madrid’s main man at 33. There is no doubting that Kylian Mbappe is a generational talent while Erling Haaland is heading in the same direction, and the media have been quick to create a narrative that they are destined to become the new big rivalry to replace Messi v Ronaldo.

At 27, I feel that Kane is at the height of his powers. We’ve seen him drop into the No.10 role more this season, and that paid off as he showed his phenomenal passing range — particularly when picking out Heung-Min Son.  

The pair have set a new record for most goal combinations in a single season (14) and they are also now two goals shy of Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard’s all-time record (36) for most goal combinations in Premier League history. 

Kane has been outstanding for several years and it is laughable looking back that some suggested he would be a ‘one-season wonder’ after his breakout campaign in 2014/15.

The England captain is also extremely ambitious and has spoken about his hunger to win silverware in the past.

Spurs are currently sixth in the table and look unlikely to finish in the top four. They’re out of the Europa League, out of the FA Cup, and while they do have an EFL Cup final date with Man City, prevailing against Pep Guardiola’s side is a big ask. 

If they don’t win anything this season, the question that will inevitably be on everyone’s lips in the summer is whether he should stay at the club he joined at the age of 11. 

Kane signed a six-year deal with the North Londoners just before the 2018 World Cup, so a move would have to be player-driven.  

If he was to make that call, where would he go?

Sergio Aguero is leaving Man City, so that’s one option. City have been linked with Haaland — along with every other top club in Europe — but we don’t know what will happen with that.

manchester-city-v-borussia-dortmund-uefa-champions-league-quarter-final-first-leg-etihad-stadium Erling Haaland and Man City defender Ruben Dias. Source: PA

Man United could certainly do with Kane’s talents. We’ve seen the impact that a proper striker like Edison Cavani has had on players around him since arriving, but the Uruguayan is nearing the end of an illustrious career. Imagine an all-English front three of Kane, Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood, being fed passes by Fernandes.

I can’t see Liverpool signing him, and Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy would be highly unlikely to sell to Chelsea.

Kane has been linked with Real Madrid in the past but I feel like they would go younger than him if spending big on a striker this summer.

Haaland is still only 20, and then there’s Zinedine Zidane’s compatriot Mbappe, who is five years younger than Kane at 22.

If they were to bring in one of them for a large transfer fee, even if it didn’t work out after a few seasons they could still sell them on and recuperate a lot of that money. Given his age, Kane would be a different situation.

The player might fancy a challenge abroad, but I believe that he will either stay at Spurs or join another Premier League club.

The idea of moving on will surely be in the back of his mind, but then again he could have his heart set on remaining at Spurs — cementing his place as a one-club legend and trying his best to win a major trophy with them.

He could have set his sights on Jimmy Greaves’ record and he’ll also have one eye on Alan Shearer’s all-time Premier League record.

At the end of the day, the decision will come down to what the player wants and it will be interesting to see how things unfold.

Tottenham aren’t in the best shape heading into Sunday’s game against Man United, and they could easily have been beaten in the 2-2 draw with Newcastle last weekend.

Jose Mourinho came out afterwards with the “same manager, different players” comment to effectively lay the blame elsewhere, and you would expect them to show a reaction.

United were all over the place in the first half against Brighton but managed to get a hold of themselves and won the game in the end. Solskjaer just keeps managing to grind out results, but I’m a little thorn on this one. Let’s go for a 2-2 draw.

Crystal Palace v Chelsea, 5.30pm Saturday 

I have to hold my hands up and say I was miles off it with my prediction for Chelsea and West Brom last week!

That said, I don’t think anyone would have called a 5-2 win for the Baggies.

The sending off for Thiago Silva was obviously a major factor, but I think it was a ‘big team v small team’ mentality from Chelsea. They didn’t address the situation and continued to play as if they had 11 men.

A lot of credit has to go to West Brom and there was some really intricate passing in their goals, which we wouldn’t associate with Big Sam teams.

Some of the play for Callum Robinson’s goals was exceptional. As I watched him score twice, I was thinking to myself ‘where was that for Ireland last week?’ but I’m delighted for him. He’s got five Premier Leagues in his career and, bizarrely, they’re all against Chelsea.

britain-soccer-premier-league Ireland forward Callum Robinson scoring against Chelsea last Saturday. Source: John Walton

Antonio Rudiger was dropped and we’ve since read about his bust-up with Kepa Arrizabalaga. Anyone that has been involved in sport at a high level will know arguments happen all the time and Thomas Tuchel said as much. 

I’ve been there myself and I’ve also seen incidents with other lads.

Crystal Palace picked up a good draw against Everton last weekend and Michy Batshuayi will have his tail up after coming off the bench and taking his opportunity with a late goal.

I’m expecting Chelsea to bounce back but it will be tough at Selhurst Park, even without the fans. I think the visitors will come out on top, 2-1.

William Hill odds above correct at the time of writing. New online customers get €30 in free bets when they bet €10 with William Hill. Just use the promo code H30. For all the latest prices, visit williamhill.com. 18+, always gamble responsibly. For more information, see gamblingtherapy.org    

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