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What now for Harry Kane?

The England striker confirmed he was staying at Tottenham earlier this week, after failing to secure a move to Man City.

Image: PA

Updated Aug 27th 2021, 8:03 PM

THE SUMMER’S MOST protracted transfer saga came to an end on Wednesday when Harry Kane tweeted that he was staying at Tottenham.

The exact message he put out raised eyebrows: “It was incredible to see the reception from the Spurs fans on Sunday and to read some of the messages of support I’ve had in the last few weeks,” he said.

“I will be staying at Tottenham this summer and will be 100% focused on helping the team achieve success.”

Consequently, barring an incredible u-turn, Kane will likely be remaining at Spurs in the short term at least.

Kane may yet end up making a big-money move at the conclusion of the season, with the “this summer” reference seemingly an attempt to pave the way for that possible scenario.

But the months-long dispute was portrayed as being a standoff between the England star and Spurs chairman Daniel Levy. Read that way, there is no question who has won the battle.

Levy refused to accept anything below the asking price, which was reportedly around €175 million.

Various reports suggest City were nowhere near meeting this fee. Some outlets suggested they were as much as £40 million short, while tentative talks of a player-plus-cash deal went nowhere, with Raheem Sterling among others allegedly reluctant to serve as makeweights in any transfer.

The saga raises question marks about City’s transfer strategy. With Sergio Aguero’s departure, there was clearly a need to recruit a world-class striker, with the likes of Gabriel Jesus, Ferran Torres and Liam Delap currently not at that level.

Knowing that Tottenham were likely to demand a high price for Kane, City were still willing to pay £100 million to trigger a release clause in Jack Grealish’s contract.

Of course, the 25-year-old England international is one of the most gifted wingers/attacking midfielders in the Premier League, as the consistently impressive performances he put in for Aston Villa illustrated. 

But Pep Guardiola’s team already have several players in a similar mould. Grealish would be an asset for any squad in world football, but they already have a wealth of accomplished creative attacking players, including Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva and Riyad Mahrez.

Any neutral observer would surely agree with the need for a goalscorer, more so than a Grealish.

Man City may yet opt for an alternative option to Kane, but there is also a possibility that they are left with Jesus and Torres as their only obvious options up front.

That predicament will not necessarily hamper their title bid – after all, they still won the league comfortably despite missing Aguero for most of last season.

Yet when you assess how all their main English rivals have strengthened, City’s life could be made much more difficult this time, particularly when you consider reigning European champions Chelsea succeeded where they appeared to have failed by recruiting a world-class striker in Romelu Lukaku.

Even Liverpool look like they could be a threat to their crown – Mo Salah, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Diogo Jota have all appeared sharp since the start of the season, having benefited from an extended break over the summer.

And just as interesting as the title race is what now lies in store for Harry Kane. The England international clearly wanted to leave Spurs this summer, to the extent that he initially didn’t turn up for pre-season training with the club.

However, if the reception he received against Wolves is anything to go by at the weekend, Tottenham supporters are willing to forgive his past behaviour. He will need another strong season to ensure that remains the case, and it will be interesting to see how the situation develops from there.

What happens next summer is hard to predict. Kane will have a year less on his contract, though at 29, will not be as attractive an option for top clubs.

As far away as it seemed at the end of last season, the player signing another contract and committing his long term future to Tottenham is not inconceivable.

Erling Haaland and potentially Kylian Mbappe could be the strikers most in-demand next summer, so Kane’s options could become increasingly limited, with only a handful of clubs able to afford him even now.

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If he has a bad season, the appetite to buy him will likely dwindle further and if he has a good campaign, Tottenham might end up qualifying for the Champions League and his desire to leave could lessen.

How exactly this pans out is anyone’s guess, but perhaps more than anything else, it is a minor win for the neutral fans.

Having all the best players at one club is not really healthy for a league in the long term.

The likes of PSG, Bayern Munich and Juventus have for the most part dominated their domestic competitions over the last decade.

England, at least, has tended to be slightly more competitive and thus, more entertaining. City signing Kane would be another step towards undermining that reputation, so the events of the past few days will be a relief to many fans.

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About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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