You may look at today, Friday, June 12, as the official beginning of the "silly season" of transfer rumors. The Manchester Evening News is reporting that Manchester United chairman Ed Woodward is readying an "audacious" bid for Harry Kane.
Based on the instant reactions I've seen already on Twitter and other social media, I think it prudent to give you a moment here to collectively freak out. Ready? Take your time.
...Okay? Are we finished? So let's unpack this a bit.
There are myriads of articles about this, and there have also been murmurs over the past few weeks that United might make a play for Kane, so this shouldn't really shock anyone. This Manchester Evening News, which is a solid paper and a good source, appears to be the wellspring of all the rampant speculation, though other articles quote unreferenced "Sky sources." But looking at this Evening News article, isn't any there there if you know what I mean. In point of fact there are only two sentences that even remotely address the rumor:
Ed Woodward is ready to lock horns with football's ultimate negotiator Daniel Levy in what would be an audacious move for Harry Kane.
And then, after about eight paragraphs about how Ed Woodward has a lot of money, Manchester United are a big club, and that they emphatically failed to sign Gareth Bale two summers ago, there's this:
It means [United] have the financial power to pay in excess of £50m for Kane. All Woodward has to do is convince [Daniel] Levy.
THAT'S IT. That's the possible genesis over this entire kerfluffle.
Of course Manchester United is interested in Harry Kane. A lot of clubs are. And United might very well be readying a bid for Kane, but right now, I am absolutely, completely unworried about Kane leaving this summer.
In the past two major player sales, Gareth Bale and Luka Modric, Real Madrid had some pretty decent leverage to work with in that both players had their heads turned and wanted to go. For all the pearl-clutching and retroactive rumination over both of their sales, it's important to remember that fact: both of them wanted to leave. That doesn't seem to be the case here. Tottenham Hotspur have forcibly and repeatedly stated that Harry Kane is not for sale at any price, and Kane himself has said that he loves the club and would like to have a long career in White Hart Lane.
Moreover, Kane just signed a new five year deal this season. His stock is way up, and even the suggested £50m bid would be a big underbid compared to his current relative value.
Finally, there's perhaps the biggest hurdle: Ed Woodward has to deal with Daniel Levy, known as the fiercest negotiator in the Premier League, and Levy has already shown an unwillingness to sell his prized players to league competitors. United reportedly offered a substantially larger bid for Gareth Bale than Real Madrid, and Levy turned them down. Chelsea reportedly offered more for Luka Modric, and Levy turned them down. I suspect it'll take more than £50m for Tottenham to even consider selling Kane this summer, and probably a lot more.
So everyone take a deep breath. This story is not going away anytime soon, but interest does not equal a bid, and a bid does not mean that Spurs are selling.