Harry Kane finds out the hard way Daniel Levy is not for turning
After all that, it took only eight words for Harry Kane to confirm the news most Tottenham supporters had been desperately hoping to hear. Yet while the England captain’s tweet on Wednesday lunchtime may not have come as that much of a surprise following a summer transfer saga that has never really taken off, its contents were clearly designed to build bridges at the club he joined as an 11-year-old.
“I will be staying at Tottenham this summer,” wrote Kane in a message that will have certainly made the Spurs chairman, Daniel Levy, smile, “and will be 100% focused on helping the team achieve success.”
After two wins from their opening two Premier League matches under the new head coach, Nuno Espírito Santo, and with time swiftly running out before Tuesday’s transfer deadline, the player who won his third Golden Boot last season was left with no real alternative. Levy has never budged from his insistence that Kane would only leave on the chairman’s terms ever since the striker made his frustration clear in May at Tottenham’s continued inability to achieve his ambition of winning major trophies.
Kane’s camp felt a gentleman’s agreement that allowed him to depart Spurs this summer would eventually smooth his passage to Manchester City, although the man who has developed a reputation as one of the transfer market’s toughest negotiators clearly had other ideas. Having indicated that he wanted at least £150m for Tottenham’s prize asset, Levy turned down City’s opening offer of £100m in June as England prepared to face the Czech Republic in their final group match at Euro 2020, with City eventually paying that figure to smash the British transfer record for Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish six weeks later.
Despite sanctioning a move that represented a 40% rise on their previous highest fee, the City board were still keen to fulfil Pep Guardiola’s desire to sign Kane and informed Spurs that they were prepared to pay £127m. But Levy’s stance remained firm even after the 28-year-old did not turn up for pre-season training, although it later emerged that he was facing a period of isolation after a holiday in the Bahamas.
“If Tottenham don’t want to negotiate, it’s finished,” admitted Guardiola two days before City’s opening-day defeat to Spurs. “If they are open to negotiate, I think not just Man City but many clubs in the world want to try to sign him – we are not an exception – but it depends on Tottenham.”
Kane missed the 1-0 win against City but Nuno’s post-match moments clearly illustrated that Spurs were keen to reintegrate him into their squad. “Harry is one of the best players in the world, so we are very lucky to have him,” Nuno said. “He has to get ready and help the team.”
As he also confirmed in his tweet, further praise from his manager after the win at Wolves on Sunday and the warm reception Kane received at Molineux made his decision to stay much easier. “It was incredible to see the reception from the Spurs fans on Sunday and to read some of the messages of support I’ve had in the last few weeks,” he wrote.
With three years left on the six-year deal worth around £10m a season he signed in 2018 and Levy’s reluctance to negotiate, Kane’s flirtations with City always seemed doomed to fail despite his representatives’ best efforts to change the chairman’s mind. It remains to be seen whether they will be back next year given that Kane will turn 29 in July, but on the day it was reported that City had also considered covering the 36-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo’s reported £26m-a-season wages in a surprise move to sign the Portugal forward from Juventus, there is still time for the England captain.
The desire to win silverware remains Kane’s major priority and that will only have increased following England’s harrowing penalty shootout defeat to Italy in the final of Euro 2020. As Romelu Lukaku pointed out last week on his return to Chelsea: “Scoring goals is beautiful but winning trophies sets you apart” – a message that will have surely resounded with a striker who has scored 237 times in all competitions during his senior career but still has just three runners-up medals to show for it.
Nuno’s desire to bring in Adama Traoré after the Spain forward performed so successfully under him at Wolves could be the kind of signing that reignites Tottenham’s forward line as they bid to win a first trophy since the League Cup in 2008 under Juande Ramos. Fail to deliver and Kane will be knocking at Levy’s door once again.