WE KNOW only too well that footballers can often agitate for a move by suddenly appearing to be uncooperative, petulant and just downright awkward. A number of players have thrown their toys out of their very expensive 4×4 prams in order to make themselves unpopular, so much so their employer cannot wait to cash-in and see them off the premises. That said, we don’t like to think of a player like Harry Kane adopting these tactics, because he’s the England captain, a decent fellow and as far as Spurs are concerned, “one of our own”.
Kane has spoken out about the news of him refusing to train and being late back from Florida. Apparently, he returned as planned and he was horrified about rumours of him downing tools. Perhaps somebody, somewhere, has been a little economical with the truth. You would assume that Tottenham knew Kane was not due back at the club until a certain date, but if that was the case, why did they not tell the media when the news suggested he was still in FLA and dragging his heels? Why did they let Kane take the flack? And why did it take so long for Kane to respond on an issue that paints him with a very negative brush?
The message has been fairly clear for some time that Kane is disgruntled and wants to win some silverware before he passes his natural peak. Tottenham are unlikely to be the club that does it for him, not in the immediate future, at least. Kane simply cannot afford to wait for Spurs’ future to come along, they are rapidly resembling Arsenal in the period following their FA Cup win in 2005 – a team that never realises its potential. It’s ironic that, like the Gunners in that period, Spurs have a shiny new stadium to pay for. Unlike Arsenal, Spurs cannot look back on a successful period and consider their winning ways on hold until their finances become more receptive. Spurs’ last trophy was won in 2008, their last league title secured in 1961 and their most recent FA Cup won in 1991.
Football refuses to fully acknowledge that players are employees and for someone to express a desire to leave a club is not about disloyalty or high treason, it’s about getting the best out of a short and hazardous career. Football is not a vocation, is not a calling or a step towards holy orders, but is a highly-paid career at the top level where a player can reap the rewards for around a decade. Kane is 28, he’s won nothing and his club are in a rebuild programme. In 12 months, he will be close to 30 when his stock starts to fall – bad news for him and for Spurs.
If he’s going, it probably has to be now in order for Spurs to monetise the value of their asset. That may sound all a little clinical, perhaps too business-orientated, but at the moment, Harry Kane is probably worth more than he’s ever been worth and in 12 months, he may be valued at a lower price, especially if he has a bad campaign. Spurs are in transition, £ 160 million will just about do it, although any possible signing will suddenly cost a premium after such a sale.
There’s also a club that really wants him who have the cash to meet the terms and conditions of the deal. Manchester City can accommodate Spurs’ demands and also give Kane what he wants and needs. Spurs and their fans can hardly complain, Kane has scored 221 goals for the club and has set a good example on the pitch. There’s been very little drama and he’s generally liked across the nation as England’s skipper. On top of the goals and leadership, earning a big fee for the player when he says farewell represents a successful transaction for Spurs.
Kane is under contract until June 30, 2024, so you could argue he should be going nowhere, but that’s why he is worth so much ion the market. Three years still remaining on his deal, he’s more valuable than if there was just one year to go. So, the fact he is contracted for so long is a positive for Spurs, is it not?
If Kane remains at Spurs, what will his mindset be like? He will surely still be at odds with his situation. More money might act like an emollient, but there’s no guarantee it will work and more cash for already wealthy individuals only delivers a short-term buzz. More significant is the influence he will have on his team-mates and in the dressing room if he is really hankering to get away. Hence, Spurs need to sell him now and move on. And if they do receive that expected windfall, they need to invest it wisely, not fritter it away on sub-standard signings, as they did in the aftermath of Gareth Bale’s departure. Moreover, timing is important, the way football’s economy is deteriorating, you cannot be totally confident Kane’s buyers will be interested in the future.
Kane exiting Tottenham Hotspur will be a blow to morale, but if his transfer funds a new team and improves the squad, then the player’s legacy can be a positive one. Kane is an excellent striker, a talismanic figure, but life will go on without him, as hard as it will seem for some to swallow. At present, they will get the best price for him but delay for too long and the club runs the risk of holding on to a declining asset. The stance being taken by both player and club is all part of a cat and mouse game – Kane wants to go, Spurs give the impression they don’t want to sell, City covet the player, but are keeping their powder dry. At the right price, the deal will surely be done and Kane will get the baubles he craves, Spurs will fund a new team.