The Hard Tackle assesses whether the time has come for Harry Kane to call it quits at Tottenham Hotspur when the summer transfer window opens.
Alan Shearer. Matt Le Tissier. Harry Kane? The first two names are classic examples of players who chose never to join the elite of the elite clubs and staying put at their respective clubs. Individually, very few could match up to their abilities, but silverware would elude them for the better part of their respective careers. For all intents and purposes, Harry Kane has been following a same career path till now.
Never really viewed as an exceptional talent during his early days in youth football, Kane played for various academies before finally finding a place for good in the Tottenham youth setup. Even at Spurs, it was only after a growth spurt that he finally started to flourish as a striker being hauled out on four different loan spells.
It is only after he returned from his final loan stint, with Leicester City, that Kane started to show some promise. And, the potential started to get realised in the following campaign, as he went on to win the PFA Young Player of the Year award and equal a Premier League club record of scoring 21 goals in a single season, then shared by him, Teddy Sheringham, Jurgen Klinsmann and Gareth Bale.
Twelve months later, that record would become his entirely. Kane, playing only his third full campaign in the Premier League, won the Golden Boot after scoring 25 goals. It is at this time when Tottenham started to finish inside the top four season after season, becoming UEFA Champions League regulars, with Kane playing a leading role in the transformation.
The 2016/17 season would prove to be the pinnacle of Mauricio Pochettino’s project at Tottenham, as they finished runners-up in the Premier League, with Kane winning the Golden Boot for a second successive season after scoring 29 goals, becoming the fourth player in Premier League history to achieve 20 goals in three consecutive seasons, after Alan Shearer, Thierry Henry and Ruud van Nistelrooy and the fifth to win the Golden Boot in two seasons in a row.
By now, it had become plainly clear that Kane was not a one-season wonder. He was here to stay and establish himself as one of the very best strikers in the game. This is when another side of his game started to develop, as in quite a Wayne Rooney-esque fashion, he began cultivating his playmaking abilities.
Inevitably, that did have an effect on his output in front of goal, but in just a couple of years’ time, he seems to have mastered the art of reprising the so-called 9.5 role, something that likes of Rooney, Luis Suarez and Karim Benzema have been the proponents of. That has been evident in the ongoing season, with Kane sitting atop the goals and assists charts while being the only player to breach the 30 G+A mark so far.
30 – Harry Kane has been directly involved in 30 goals in the Premier League this season (17 goals, 13 assists), while only Robert Lewandowski (41) has scored or assisted more across the top five European leagues in 2020-21. Phenomenal. pic.twitter.com/f1AIWZ08oi
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 21, 2021
However, while Kane (and his partner in crime Son Heung-min, for that matter) has been simply excellent for much of the campaign, 2020/21 has proven to be yet another season in which Tottenham have promised much before flattering to deceive. And, it seems like Kane’s patience is starting to wear thin.
Indeed, modern-day football does not see players like Alan Shearer and Matt Le Tissier, among others. A modern-day footballer of the topmost echelon chases trophies like no other player in another generation would have. And, while Kane has remained loyal to Tottenham for the longest time, the team has not delivered the success that his talent and output deserves.
The numbers that Kane is now producing are simply staggering and that is the tally of a player who is comparable to the very best in the world, the kind of players who have a habit of winning silverware. Alas, for the 27-year-old, that has not been the case so far in his career, with Spurs failing to challenge for even the cup competitions on a regular basis, with success eluding him on the international level as well.
With Tottenham not even looking likely to qualify for the UEFA Champions League, the time is right for Kane to move away from the north London club and seek a move to a place where he can truly challenge for the top honours. That being said, where exactly could he land this summer? The Hard Tackle now lists three potential destinations for the England captain.
— The Spurs Web ⚪️ (@thespursweb) March 23, 2021
The first one is quite obvious, isn’t it? Real Madrid, for quite some time now, have been scouring the transfer market for a successor for Karim Benzema. And, who better to fill in the shoes of the wondrous Frenchman than a player who is, for all intents and purposes, pretty much an English clone.
Someone like Erling Haaland will undoubtedly offer more goals, but with the Norwegian being the hottest property in the transfer market right now, Los Blancos will face an unprecedented level of competition in his pursuit. Kane, on the other hand, could arrive at Real Madrid in a relatively more approachable manner.
With the England captain now at the peak of his powers, he is at the right stage of his career to continue doing what Benzema has been for the better part of the past decade. And, his creative abilities could well be the ideal foil for players like Marco Asensio, Rodrygo Goes and Vinicius Jr. in the final third, as Zinedine Zidane looks to get more goals out of the youngsters.
Reports have suggested that the Merengues are even ready to offer Gareth Bale to land Kane in the summer. That might just be the best step forward if Real Madrid are to secure the services of Kane, considering that according to David Ornstein, Daniel Levy will only start considering a sale if a suitor offers over £120 million for him. Theoretically, though, Real Madrid present the best opportunity for Kane.
This one is a little closer to home, although a destination that will be a little complicated to reach. However, if Manchester City do manage to sign Kane in the summer transfer window, with Pep Guardiola in-charge for the foreseeable future, they will have the perfect successor for Sergio Aguero.
Even after Guardiola’s eventual departure, Kane should enjoy loads of success, considering the model that has been custom-built to deliver success at the Etihad Stadium. It is indeed a path that was taken by Kyle Walker, who has been a key part of the success that Manchester City have enjoyed under the tutelage of Guardiola. However, in Kane’s case, things might be a bit different.
Firstly, Tottenham are likely to be incredibly reluctant to let the England captain strengthen a rival team, meaning Daniel Levy ought to put a defiant front against Manchester City’s interest in Kane. The player himself might be hesitant in joining the Citizens, having professed his love for Spurs time and again.
If somehow Manchester City do overcome those obstacles, there is no reason why Kane cannot be on his way to the Etihad in the summer transfer window. And, with Sergio Aguero highly likely to depart the club, the Citizens will have facilitated a smooth transition from the Argentine to Kane.
The left-of-centre option, but one that makes a great deal of sense. Cristiano Ronaldo is reaching the end of the line in Turin and while it has been suggested that he could continue at the Allianz Stadium for one more season, Kane is the kind of player that Juventus can still do with.
Paulo Dybala is facing an uncertain future at Juventus and in Kane, the Bianconeri will have a major upgrade on not just the Argentine, but also players like Alvaro Morata and Dejan Kulusevksi. Kane will also be the perfect foil for Ronaldo with his creative abilities while Juventus will have signed a bonafide goalscorer, the likes of which they do not have, bar Ronaldo.
Having said that, raising a nine-figure sum in the current market conditions might be a bit of an ask unless they are able to recoup a significant fee for Dybala, who is touted to leave Juventus when the summer transfer window opens. If signed, though, Kane can galvanize a team that has slipped up massively this season and will be eager to hit back with vengeance next term.