If you thought Harry Kane was destined to leave Tottenham Hotspur for Manchester United this summer, think again.
This appears to be the obvious solution for both Kane and United. Kane reaches his 30th birthday in July and is still waiting to win his first major trophy, while United have made a proven goalscorer their number 1 summer target, which will see the club win the Premier League title again. Will make a claimant out of.
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Kane and United would appear to be a perfect fit, but sources have told ESPN that the prospect of approaching Spurs chairman Daniel Levy to negotiate a deal for the England captain has led United to look at alternatives including Napoli’s Victor Osimhen and Juventus forward lost focus. Dusan Vlahovic. Despite Kane entering the final 12 months of his Spurs contract this summer, a source has told ESPN that United will not risk a long-term pursuit of Kane who runs out until the final hours of the summer transfer window .
“United cannot start the season without a new striker,” the source said. “And having dealt with Levi in the past, they don’t want to put Kane through that nightmare again with so much at stake, so they might not get involved.”
However, Levy’s reputation as a formidable negotiator has two sides. Clubs trying to sign Spurs players find 61-year-old Levy, the Premier League’s longest-serving chairman who was appointed in 2001, stubborn and difficult. But for his employers, he is the man who fended off Manchester City’s attempts to sign Kane in 2021, secured a world record £85million fee for Gareth Bale from Real Madrid in 2013 and brought United to his £30.75m Forced to break own transfer record. Me deal for Dimitar Berbatov in 2008.
After signing the Bulgarian striker minutes before the deadline, a former United executive told ESPN that manager Sir Alex Ferguson and chief executive David Gill had vowed never to deal with Levy again – an agreement they have since honored until they both retired five years later.
The former executive said, “Daniel was determined that he would not make a deal unless the charges started with three.” “Months of negotiations came down to the last minute of the window and Sir Alex and David Gill never forgot it.”
Fast forward 15 years to the summer of 2023 and United will face the same scenario if they identify Kane as the solution to the team’s goal-scoring problems. With 14 goals, only Marcus Rashford has touched double figures in the Premier League this season; Next is Bruno Fernandes with five goals.
Since signing Robin van Persie from Arsenal in 2012, United have consistently failed to solve their centre-forward problem. Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Cristiano Ronaldo both scored but were in their mid-30s when they arrived, while Radamel Falcao, Edinson Cavani, Odion Ighalo and Wat Weghorst were little more than sticking-plaster signings to varying degrees of success . Romelu Lukaku was expected to be the answer when he signed from Everton in 2017, but he left within two years after failing to meet his initial £75m transfer fee.
If Kane joins United, he will be 30 before he ever kicks a ball for the club. But Van Persie’s age was similar when he arrived at the age of 29, and the appeal of signing the Spurs forward is that he could be a catalyst for a title challenge, as Van Persie proved . But Levy knows that United are desperate for a striker, so it is unimaginable that he would not want to exploit their weakness by demanding a huge fee for Kane – given Kane’s age, contract status and club status. would not be likely to be paid by Fighting to comply with Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations.
If the player himself stresses the issue publicly with a desire to leave, it could open the door for a move, but United may not wait until late summer before signing the striker.
In the midst of this is Kane, a player who has given Tottenham incredible service and may have been loyal to the club for a longer period of time than many of his contemporaries. He has broken Tottenham’s all-time record of 266 goals this season. But he may have seen lesser players at rival clubs win as many trophies elsewhere and he is a player whose career deserves a silver lining. His dilemma is clear – stay at Spurs and try to win that trophy, force a move or cut short his contract and leave as a free agent in 2024.
There will be no guarantee of success at United, but Kane’s England team-mate Rashford has won four major trophies since joining the team in 2016, despite the club’s struggles over the past decade. Cup and Europa League, having already won the Carabao Cup.
Some clubs find a way to win; Others never seem to cross the finish line first. Spurs have proved to be the latter, even as Kane continues to score.
Bayern Munich, yet to replace Robert Lewandowski, have long been interested in Kane, while his pedigree will always appeal to the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain. But those clubs are all possible destinations next year when he is a free agent, not just in the summer when Spurs could demand in excess of £100m for their star player. Playing overseas will also end Kane’s chances of breaking Alan Shearer’s record of 260 Premier League goals – Kane has 203 goals after Saturday’s 3-1 win over Nottingham Forest.
If Kane decides to make a move this summer, United would appear to be the obvious destination. But both Kane and United know Levy will make it extremely difficult and potentially impossible. Something, somewhere, needs to give, but it won’t be Daniel Levy.