Did you think Charlie and Harry Kane were finished with their ill-conceived gambits to attempt to force Tottenham Hotspur to sell Harry to Manchester City this summer? Oh buddy, you’d be so wrong about that. This evening, the Telegraph’s Jason Burt released an explosive story whereby Kane has effectively “thrown down the gauntlet” and demanded to be sold to City.
The report, which is clearly sourced by Kane’s agent and brother Charlie, says that with two weeks to go in the transfer window, Harry is demanding that Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy honor the “gentleman’s agreement” he made with Kane whereby he would be sold if the team underachieved this past season. Kane also holds that his one week absence from training was a “miscommunication” perniciously used by the club to turn the fanbase against him, and is demanding that the situation be explained to the fans so that they can hear his side of the story.
The striker believes he should be allowed to join Manchester City, wants to leave on good terms with his relationship with the fans being extremely important to him and has reiterated all of this in subsequent meetings with Levy. Kane feels that the board has failed to match his ambition and should negotiate.
It is also understood that City’s bid for Kane already amounts to £125million in total – not the £100million that has been previously reported - but that Levy has become so entrenched that he is now refusing to even discuss what would be a British record transfer. Spurs have insisted Kane is not for sale but the two clubs are understood to have been in dialogue for over a year about the move, with Kane aware of what was happening, but much to City’s frustration there are currently no talks and no indication Levy will change his mind.
City sources have indicated the club is expected to make “one final push” to sign Kane before the transfer window closes on August 31. Sources also say that Kane’s intention is not to make one last effort to go but rather to want the full situation to be explained out of respect for the fans.
— Jason Burt, The Telegraph
The article goes on to claim that the “gentleman’s agreement” was Levy saying that the club would go “all out” to win a trophy and push for a Champions League place last season, and that Kane feels that, by winning the Golden Boot and claiming the Premier League assist title, he fulfilled his part in that arrangement. Levy’s argument can probably be summarized by defining “going all out” as spending an obscene amount of money on one of the most high profile managers in world football in Jose Mourinho, someone Kane enthusiastically backed to the very end, and having the whole situation blow up in the club’s face. In that sense, Harry absolutely backed the wrong horse.
This is just farcical on its face, and feels like an another incredible bungle in what has been a series of PR missteps by the Brothers Kane over this entire saga. This article, the source of which is very clearly Charlie Kane, comes after Harry’s interview with Gary Neville on a golf course where he expressed an interest in leaving Tottenham while Spurs were still making a push to make top four, his clearly unsanctioned absence from training after the EUROs, and a separate article in the Sun, written by a gossip reporter and family friend of the Kanes, which suggested that Levy was willing to sell Kane this summer.
If Harry Kane had a final intact bridge at Tottenham, he might have just set it on fire with this article. It’s kind of incredible, really. Kane’s status with the Tottenham fanbase has clearly taken a huge hit, and this is another in a series of PR blunders that have only made things worse.
It’s really amazing how the Brothers Kane have botched this so spectacularly that a sizable percentage, perhaps even a plurality, of Spurs fans have completely turned on him and not Levy. Now, Kane’s own behavior has tarnished his reputation among a fanbase that held him until recently in an almost untouchable regard, to the point where many Spurs fans now just want him gone. And maybe that’s the point? Kane obviously wants to go, and maybe he thinks this is the best way to make that happen.
Except it isn’t. Kane clearly cares about the opinion of the Spurs fanbase, which is why he wants to try to “leave the club on good terms” and have the club explain to the fans why he isn’t the bad guy. But he’s trying to force his way out of a club at the peak of his abilities while three years into a six year contract to one of the richest clubs in the world who are still trying to low-ball the price. In short, he’s trying to have his cake and eat it too, except it isn’t really his cake, it’s Daniel Levy’s cake, and Levy isn’t giving it up until Manchester City pay full price for it.
well, well, well, if it isn't the consequences of my own actions— lil du bois (@geraldinreverse) September 29, 2018
Kane might still get his move, but it won’t be due to anything that he, or his brother, does to facilitate the process. Positions have clearly hardened now to the point where the ONLY way this transfer goes through is if Manchester City come through with a bid that is acceptable to Daniel Levy. Thus far, they haven’t even come close. Levy is perfectly within his rights to ignore City’s calls until they do.
And if they don’t, then Kane’s really in a pickle. The Telegraph says that if he is not sold this summer that he will make himself available for selection and that he will behave in a professional manner, but the damage may already be done.
In a strange way, this might give Kane a final victory if the transfer does happen, but it will almost certainly be a pyrrhic one. There is an alternate universe where, under a competent agent, Kane has been able to manage the PR of this saga to the extent where Levy comes across as the parsimonious, lying chairman who is preventing the England captain from becoming his best self by reneging on a good-faith agreement, with Harry as the club legend, “one of our own,” one of the best footballers ever to play at Spurs, being unfairly held at the club against his will. And it’s not like Kane doesn’t have a point! He absolutely does, especially if Levy really is trying to weasel his way out of a “gentleman’s agreement” the same way he did with Luka Modric a decade ago. Levy’s hands are absolutely not clean in this matter, and that is also important to emphasize.
No, the problem isn’t that Kane shouldn’t be upset at not being able to get his move to Manchester City. The problem is that he and his brother are both extremely dumb and made the wrong choices to attempt to facilitate the move, from the very beginning. They mistakenly believed that a “gentleman’s agreement” would be honored by a chairman who has a pretty poor track record in that regard, they thought Harry could throw a fit halfway through a six year contract to force a move against the financial interests of the club, and they made just about every PR mistake it’s possible to make along the way.
And right now unless City decides to search their couch cushions for spare change, it looks like Harry might end up not only losing out on his last best chance for a huge transfer, but also the good will of Tottenham Hotspur fans, permanently.