For the second year running, the speed of Tottenham’s transfer business is encouraging, but the future of Harry Kane is threatening to hang over the club’s summer rebuild.
Spurs have already signed goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario, completed a permanent deal for Dejan Kulusevski (at a discount) and on Wednesday confirmed the £40m capture of James Maddison If Spurs sign a new centre-half in the coming days — Edmond Tapsoba is a target and there is interest in re-signing Clement Lenglet — they will have addressed the three biggest issues in the squad before new head coach Ange Postecoglou officially starts work on July 1.
However, the success or otherwise of Spurs’s summer now appears likely to be determined by Kane’s future, with Bayern Munich confident of landing the England captain, despite seeing an initial £60m bid rebuffed.According to reports in Germany, Bayern are preparing an improved offer for Kane, who is now confident that playing overseas and breaking Alan Shearer’s Premier League goal record are no longer mutually exclusive aims and is open to joining the Bundesliga champions.
Spurs insist they do not want to sell Kane, but that is not to say he is not for sale at any price; the club would have to consider an offer of £100m for a player who has entered the final year of his contract, shown little inclination to sign a new deal and is 30 next month.
Kane is Tottenham’s greatest-ever player but, when it comes to his future, there is no obvious answer for the club or under-pressure chairman Daniel Levy, who is probably damned if he does and damned if he does not.
The case for keeping Kane is simple: he is Spurs’ best player by a country mile and his sentimental value to the club cannot be overstated.
There is simply no combination of replacements Spurs could realistically sign, even with a £100m windfall, that would fill the Kane-shaped hole in Postecoglou’s squad.
Losing Kane would rip the beating heart out of the club and immediately rob the team of its focal point and dressing-room leader, not to mention 30 League goals last season — more than 40 per cent of their total.Without him, they would have little hope of returning to the Champions League next term.
It is a risk, but keeping Kane would also ensure Spurs have another year under a progressive and persuasive head coach to ultimately convince him to stay put forever. This time next year, a revitalised Spurs could be the most attractive offer on the table for Kane and his young family.
Conversely, if Spurs did choose to sell Kane to Bayern this summer, they would have control over his destination — and chances of coming back.
By packing him off to Germany with an agreement that they can have first refusal in the likely event that he decides he wants to return to England to finish the job of breaking Shearer’s record, Spurs would keep him away from their ‘big six’ rivals and land a huge fee to turbocharge Postecoglou’s rebuild.
Hard as it is to imagine, it may be just the fresh start the club needs and ensures Postecoglou will not spend next season shaping a new-look team around Kane, only for the striker to walk away on a free next summer and leave the manager having to start over again.
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There is also a chance Kane would become a distraction next term if he stays put without signing a new deal, his future casting a constant cloud over the club, much like Antonio Conte’s uncertain position came to dominate the discourse, fostering instability. Whatever the club and Levy decide, it is in Tottenham’s interest for the saga to reach a swift conclusion to ensure their summer is not dominated by another Kane saga, just as it was in summer 2021.
It is not clear yet if Bayern are preparing to increase their offer incrementally or significantly, but Postecoglou needs to know whether he can expect to be working with Kane next season or will have a huge transfer kitty and a mammoth hole in the squad to fill.
Spurs doing their business early will count for little if they bow to pressure to sell their best player late in the transfer window, so a rapid outcome to this saga feels essential for the success of their summer.