if you believe that harry kane is set to leave Tottenham Hotspur for Manchester United this summer, think again.
It seems the obvious solution for both Kane and United. Kane is approaching his 30th birthday in July and is still hoping to win his first major trophy, while United have turned a proven goalscorer into their number one summer target as the key piece in the puzzle that will get the club back on track. be a contender for the Premier League title.
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Kane and United appear to be a great fit, but sources have told ESPN that the prospect of negotiating with Spurs chairman Daniel Levy to negotiate a deal for the England captain has left United focusing on alternative options, including the from Napoli. Victor Osimhen and Juventus striker dusan vlahovic. Despite Kane entering the final 12 months of his contract with Spurs this summer, a source told ESPN that United will not risk a protracted search for Kane that stretches into the final hours of the transfer window. summer.
“United cannot afford to start the season without a new striker,” the source said. “And having dealt with Levy in the past, they don’t want to go through that nightmare again for Kane with so much at stake, so they may not even get involved.”
However, Levy’s reputation as a formidable negotiator has two aspects. Clubs trying to sign players from Spurs find the 61-year-old Levy, who is the Premier League’s longest-serving chairman since he was appointed in 2001, as stubborn and difficult. But to his employers, he is the man who resisted Manchester City’s attempts to sign Kane in 2021, secured a world record £85m fee for Gareth Bale from Real Madrid in 2013 and forced United to break their own transfer record in a £30.75m 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 vowed never to deal with Levy again, a pact they honored until both withdrew. five years later.
“Daniel was determined that he would not do a deal unless the rate started with a three,” the former executive said. “Months of negotiation came down to the final minutes of the window and Sir Alex and David Gill have never forgotten that.”
Fast forward 15 years to the summer of 2023 and United would face the same scenario if they identify Kane as the solution to the team’s goal-scoring woes. Only Mark Rashford, with 14 goals, has reached double figures in the Premier League this season; the 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 goals but were around 30 when they arrived, while Radamel Falcao, edison cavani, Odion Ighalo and Wout Weghorst they were nothing more than plaster signings, with varying degrees of success. Romelu Lukaku He was expected to be the answer when he signed for Everton in 2017, but left after two years after missing his initial transfer fee of £75m.
If Kane joins United, he would be 30 years old before he kicked a ball for the club. But Van Persie had a similar age profile when he reached 29, and the appeal of signing the Spurs striker 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 inconceivable that he would choose not to exploit his weakness by demanding a huge fee for Kane – a fee United would likely not pay due to Kane’s age, contract situation and the situation of the club. battle to comply with Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations.
If the player himself were to force the issue by making his desire to leave public, it could open the door for a move, but United simply cannot wait until late summer to sign a striker.
In the midst of this is Kane, a player who has provided incredible service to Tottenham and remained loyal to the club far longer than many of his contemporaries probably would have. He has broken Tottenham’s all-time scoring record of 266 goals this season. But he will have seen lesser players at rival clubs win multiple trophies elsewhere and he is a player whose career deserves a silver lining. His dilemma is clear: stay with the Spurs and try to win that trophy, force a move, or run out of his contract and leave as a free agent in 2024.
There would be no guarantee of success at United, but despite the club’s struggles over the past decade, Kane’s England teammate Rashford has won four major trophies since breaking into the team in 2016. He could win another two. this season, with United still chasing the FA Cup and Europa League, having already won the Carabao Cup.
Some clubs find a way to win; others never seem to be able to cross the finish line in the first place. Spurs have proven to be the ultimate, even with Kane scoring goals so consistently.
Bayern Munich, yet to be replaced Robert Lewandowski, has a long-standing interest in Kane, while his pedigree would always attract the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain. But those clubs are more likely destinations next year, when he would be a free agent, rather than a summer in which Spurs could demand more than £100m for their star player. Playing abroad would also end Kane’s chances of breaking Alan Shearer’s Premier League record of 260 goals: Kane now has 203 after his brace in Saturday’s 3-1 win over Nottingham Forest.
If Kane decides to force a move this summer, United would seem the obvious destination. But both Kane and United know that Levy will make it enormously difficult and potentially impossible. Something, somewhere, has to give, but it won’t be Daniel Levy.