If you were hoping that the ongoing drama that swirled around Harry Kane’s aborted attempt to leave Tottenham Hotspur had dissipated after he was prevented from leaving for Manchester City this past summer, well you’re going to be disappointed. It’s not hard to read the tea leaves and come to the conclusion that Kane’s Spurs future is very much in question, and likely is very closely tied to that of Antonio Conte.
Pursuant to that, today The Athletic (£) has an article out that details more about Harry Kane’s options in the transfer window, what it means for Spurs, and what steps Tottenham Managing Director of Football Fabio Paratici is taking now to keep the club’s options as open as possible.
First, Laurie Whitwell makes it clear that there are clubs who are still interested in a big-money move for Kane, and that Spurs taking a hard line against sanctioning a move is less likely this summer as Kane only has two years remaining on his contract. That means if Kane is still determined to leave for another club this summer, it’s Daniel Levy’s last opportunity to command a substantial transfer fee for him.
More, it sounds as though while Manchester City has been linked (again) with Kane, in this article it’s Manchester United that gets the focus. Whitwell notes that there were discussions about Kane between Daniel Levy and former United vice-chairman Ed Woodward last summer, but that United weren’t going to make any kind of move until 2022 due to their big-money purchase of Jadon Sancho last summer. It’s likely that Kane would still command a transfer fee of at least £100m to make Daniel Levy consider sanctioning a move — less than he was demanding last summer, but on par with what Manchester City were offering.
According to The Athletic, Tottenham are quietly starting to make contingency plans via Jorge Mendes, the high powered super-agent who has had some not-insignificant ties to the club over the past couple of years. Mendes is apparently having discussions with the agents of a number of players about possibly becoming Kane’s replacement at Spurs, including Darwin Nunez and Tammy Abraham.
It is in that context that sources say Jorge Mendes has been approaching centre-forwards in Europe about switching to Spurs. The Portuguese agent is described as searching for possible replacements should Kane move to United when the window opens and has held talks over Benfica’s Darwin Nunez and Roma’s Tammy Abraham.
Mendes has a good working relationship with Levy and sporting director Fabio Paratici. He took Matt Doherty and Carlos Vinicius to Spurs before Paratici joined last June and then did the deal for Nuno Espirito Santo to become head coach in July. Spurs sources say Mendes is working on his own accord in this regard, however.
— The Athletic
I’m always somewhat skeptical about reports of this nature, especially so early. Obviously there’s a lot that can happen between now and the window opening — Spurs still have an outside chance at a top four finish, and Kane and Conte are supposedly quite close, though their immediate futures are still moving parts.
That said, there’s a lot in here that’s plausible — United are without question one of the few clubs that could afford a high-profile move for Kane, though whether Harry would want to leave for a club that lately has been competing with Tottenham for positions rather for trophies remains to be seen. However, the implication is that City may be more likely to transfer their attention to Erling Haaland, which opens a door for a United approach for Kane, should he decide to try and force another move.
Any replacement for Kane is almost certainly going to be a high profile transfer, so it also makes sense that Spurs could quietly call on some serious agent firepower to make it happen. Mendes has been close to the club (for better or worse) for a while now, and would certainly have the connections and the gravitas to make some opening overtures.
So consider this report an opening salvo — we’re going to be reading about, and talking about, Harry Kane for a long time, either until he moves on or he commits his future to the club. And it’s further evidence that this is going to be one of the more eventful and consequential summers Tottenham has had in a long time.