With Bayern Munich heavily linked with a move for a striker next summer, Tottenham Hotspur star Harry Kane has often been mentioned at the top of the list. While most fans automatically dismissed the rumors as mere fancy, we here at BFW have gone a step further and asked an expert to do it for us.
Good thing an expert was easy to come by. Dustin George-Miller, the tyrannical overlord of SB Nation’s Cartilage Free Captain, was more than happy to answer some questions for us. Here’s what he had to say ...
First things first, does Harry Kane want to leave Spurs?
I don’t think Harry Kane wants to leave Tottenham Hotspur. I think he wants to win trophies, and ideally he’d like to win trophies while at Tottenham Hotspur. Kane has an elite “winners’ mentality,” which is unsurprising considering his sports idol is NFL quarterback Tom Brady, and definitely doesn’t want to end his career as one of the best English forwards of his generation never to win anything.
This summer is going to be key to Kane’s future, and there are two possible scenarios: either he will have signed a new contract that keeps him at Spurs until he’s into his 30s, or he is sold. I don’t see a realistic scenario where Kane ends up running down his contract and leaves on a free transfer — Spurs won’t allow their homegrown, world-class talent to leave for free.
If I’m honest, I think Kane’s decision is probably intertwined with the future of Antonio Conte. If Conte is backed and decides to stay past the end of this season, I think it’s very likely that Kane will also stay. However, if Conte leaves and the club decides that it needs to rebuild, I find it very unlikely that Kane will want to be part of a new project. If that’s the case, the club will probably try and sell him for as much money as they can.
If he does leave, would he choose a club abroad? A club like Bayern Munich, for example?
Kane’s under contract until 2024, so it’s not entirely up to him where he goes, though certainly he’d need to agree to any move. Spurs chairman Daniel Levy has said on multiple occasions in the past that he would not sell Kane full stop, but he would absolutely not sell him to a Premier League rival. That leaves only a handful of clubs, all of them abroad.
I suspect Bayern would be among the easiest sells — they’re a dominant team in a good league, very likely to win the Bundesliga again and again, and highly competitive in the Champions League.
If there was a bidding war for Kane in the summer, who do you think would be involved? How much would Kane cost?
If we assume (and we should) that Levy is unlikely to sell to a domestic rival, then we’re talking about the usual suspects — Real Madrid, Barcelona, PSG, Bayern. They’re the only clubs that have the financial chops and the on-pitch clout to attract and actually follow through on a big bid. Barcelona’s an odd duck these days, though, considering their recent financial issues. I don’t know how many “palancas” they’d have to pull to afford Kane, but it’s probably a lot.
As for cost, I don’t know. Assuming he does leave, he’ll be sold with a year left on his contract which likely means that his transfer fee will be lower than the £80m-100m that was mooted a couple of summers ago. That discounts the possibility of a bidding war, which could happen.
What is the sentiment within the Spurs fanbase about the Kane situation? If he does leave, where would you prefer he ends up?
The fanbase is a little split. He’s very likely going to end this season as Tottenham’s all-time leading goal scorer, eclipsing Jimmy Greaves for a record that some thought would never be broken. A lot of fans think that there isn’t anything more Kane can give the club, and that he’d be within his rights to want to leave for a new challenge. Others want him to stay forever and be a one-club man like Ledley King.
Personally, I’m still a little angry with him over how he (and his brother/agent Charlie) conducted himself during the Manchester City transfer saga a couple of years ago. He’s an amazing player and an unforgettable talent and if I’m honest with myself the time to sell him and reinvest was then. That said, I’m starting to come around to the idea that it’s time for a new chapter at the club. If Spurs do end up selling him, I just want him at a club where he’ll be happy, who will pay a good amount of money for him, and where we don’t have to play against him hardly ever.
How would Spurs replace Kane in the event of a departure?
I mean, that’s the (multi-)million pound question. The answer is: you can’t. There’s no way to replace a generational talent like Harry Kane, it’s impossible. The best you can do is restructure in a way that the team is no longer so reliant on him and his goals, and reorient your expectations of what Tottenham is supposed to look and feel like. It’s possible. Lots of teams have done it. It’ll probably be painful for a while, but every book has a last page.
But I don’t think Harry leaving is a foregone conclusion. Far from it. I’m not even certain that selling him is the correct move from a club development standpoint. I’d say the odds are currently about 50/50 that he stays but a lot depends on, as I’ve said, Conte and whether he decides to renew his contract.
If Spurs decide to keep him, they’re going to have an entirely different set of issues to deal with — what to do with a Harry Kane that is aging. Will that block the pathway to the first team for younger players and even some academy products? It’s likely. Is that a bad thing? I dunno!
We’re going to find out in the next six months, though.
Huge thanks to Dustin for taking the time to help us out! If you’re Spurs fan then check out Cartilage Free Captain for some excellent coverage that’s right up your alley.