It’s the transfer we’ve all been waiting for, and it’s been drawn out longer than anything anyone’s ever seen in recent memory. Harry Kane’s wanted out of Tottenham for years now, and who could blame him? Now, with Bayern having apparently offered £86m plus add-ons for a thirty-year old striker who can leave for free a year from now, it’s up to Daniel Levy to do us all a solid and accept the bid. While it’s true that Bayern could come back in January with a reduced bid, it’s all too possible that Kane could pull a van Persie a year from now, and none of us want that.
It’s getting awfully late in the transfer window (it closes at 11pm BST on 1 September), and Levy has dithered while nickel-and-diming with Bayern, hoping to get a £100m fee out of the German giants. Who can blame him? Kane’s arguably the best player Tottenham have ever had, and his style of play suggests that he probably still has a good three or four years left in him. He’s never been fast or one to beat his man with the ball at his feet; he’s a lethal finisher who’s best when others put the ball on a platter for him. He might even age like fine wine.
Still, the closer that the deadline creeps, the more likely it is that Kane ends up at Man U or Chelsea, all the better to overtake Alan Shearer’s Prem record of 260 goals. Kane needs just 48 more, which would probably take two more seasons, maybe three. Should he stay at Tottenham for one more season, he’d feel all the more tempted to make the move to Man U or Chelsea to claim that record, and, what’s worse, help his new club win the Prem. Both of those clubs need a striker; Prem-proven strikers are in short supply. Prem-proven strikers available on a free transfer? Priceless.
At our end, of course, we’ve seen how this plays out with our own talisman. Van Persie forced his way out under similar circumstances. Seeing that the club would not or could not invest in the kind of players who could elevate the squad, facing a rebuild on a tight budget, van Persie saw the same writing on the wall that we all saw and got the duck out of Dodge. He went on to lead Man U to the Prem title the very next year. If Kane follows in his footsteps, be it to Old Trafford or Stamford Bridge, we might as well pencil his club of choice in as the presumptive Prem winners for 2024-25 if not beyond.
Here’s the part that gets a bit dodgy. As we all know, no one at Tottenham wants to do anything that makes life any easier for anyone at Arsenal. Far better to cut off one’s nose and all that. Here’s where I break the fourth wall and/or turn to camera #4: Tater-tots, you have to know that refusing to sell Kane to Bayern (or PSG) slams shut the door on your chance at winning anything for the foreseeable future. If I’m being brutal here, you lot really should have sold Kane last summer when you had leverage and could have gotten Real Madrid involved in a bidding war with Bayern, PSG, Man U, and anyone else who was interested. You could have then seen if Levy had learnt any lessons from selling Bale—could he have reinvested the £150m or so any better than he did in signing Lamela, Paulinho, Soldado, Capoue, and Eriksen (the only one to really prove out)? More to the point, could he reinvest £86m any better?
If that’s not convincing, consider the alternative: losing the best player your club has ever seen for nothing in a year’s time…and seeing him help Man U or Chelsea hoist all sorts of trophies for the next four or five years. That might stick in your craws just a bit. What’s worse, you won’t get anything to rebuild a squad that—let’s face it—is in sore need of some rebuilding. Given a choice between selling him to Bayern at a fee somewhat less than what Levy demands and losing him to a domestic rival for no fee at all, I’d have to choose the former.
I hope I’m not asking for any self-serving favours here. In the end, we’re looking at one of those rare occasions when our interests might actually align. Sell Kane to Bayern, and you have a chance to rebuild your squad in order to compete for silverware. Pass on selling Kane, and you face another diffident season devoid of silverware followed by several seasons in which Kane wins all sorts of silverware with Man U or Chelsea. ‘Twixt the two, it’s in your own best interest to sell now (even if it’s also in our own best interest).
We’re deep into some “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” territory, whether you ascribe that phase to the ancient Latin Amicus meus, inimicus inimici mei, to Sun-Tzu, or to Chanakya’s Sanskrit text Arthashastra. What’s more clear is that Tottenham had better sell Kane sooner rather than later if they (or we) are to have any chance at winning domestic silverware anytime soon.
I just hope that we can count on Mr. Levy to do right by his own club, if not ours.