Harry Kane has joined up with the England squad for this month’s international break, with the forward arriving for fixtures against San Marino, Albania and Poland in fine form.
Tottenham’s leading light has enjoyed arguably the best season of his career so far, leading the Premier League’s scoring charts on 17 goals alongside Mohamed Salah, whilst his 13 assists are more than any other player in the division to date.
Kane will hope to continue his recent performances and get England’s World Cup qualification campaign off to the perfect start this week, though his club future remains a source of contention amid reports the forward is open to leaving Spurs this summer.
The north London side have seen what was an initially bright start to the season fade in recent months, currently sitting sixth in the Premier League and facing the prospect of missing out on the Champions League for a second successive year.
Jose Mourinho’s side crashed out of the FA Cup following a bonkers 5-4 defeat to Everton last month, whilst their Europa League venture was ended in embarrassing fashion last week, surrendering a 2-0 first-leg lead to be eliminated by Dinamo Zagreb.
Kane – who is yet to win any silverware in his career – has the opportunity to end that wait with a Carabao Cup final to come against Manchester City next month, though even if Spurs overcome the Premier League leaders, it could prove not to be sufficient.
This month’s international break will see Kane face off against Robert Lewandowski as England face Poland next Wednesday, a meeting of arguably the two most complete number nines in world football right now.
Lewandowski was named as the world’s finest footballer at The Best FIFA Football Awards last year, a fitting coronation for a player who scored 55 goals in all competitions as Bayern Munich won a historic treble in 2019/20.
Kane will no doubt cast envious glances towards the 31-year-old whose elite talents are surrounded by a stellar supporting cast in Bavaria, a situation not currently enjoyed by the England captain amid much mediocrity at Spurs.
This summer now shapes as a decisive one for Kane in what could prove a now or never opportunity to exit.
Kane will no doubt attract interest from Europe’s elite should he agitate for a move away this summer, both Manchester sides in pursuit of centre-forward additions this summer and long-term admirers of the player.
Time to bounce back tomorrow after a very disappointing week. No words will atone for the last 2 games, we just have to show our response on the pitch! pic.twitter.com/Ug3QqdLXmk
— Harry Kane (@HKane) March 20, 2021
Manchester City appears a perfect fit for Kane to fulfil his ambitions, with Pep Guardiola’s side possessing the resources to secure a deal and a squad capable of challenging for major honours as they close in on a third Premier League title in just four seasons.
Manchester United are also in need of a new number nine and attracting a player of Kane’s calibre could take a developing side to the next level, though a move to the Red Devils represents a risk for the striker, the club without a major trophy since 2016/17.
Recent reports have suggested Real Madrid could make an approach for the star, whilst Liverpool could represent an intriguing option as Jurgen Klopp looks to revitalise his faltering forward line, Kane’s creative qualities in dropping deep this season sure to appeal given Roberto Firmino’s apparent decline.
Paris Saint-Germain have also been mooted as a potential destination with Mauricio Pochettino now in charge at the Parc des Princes, a side which could provide Kane with a chance to challenge for the Champions League, even if there has been a lack of genuine competitiveness domestically in recent seasons.
Much may depend on how the market moves this summer, with Spurs chairman, Daniel Levy, known to drive a hard bargain and not a man keen to take a backwards step and offload his side’s prized possession.
The impact of the coronavirus pandemic also continues to influence the market with clubs feeling the financial squeeze, whilst Kane finds himself behind the likes of Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe amongst the list of priorities for Europe’s elite.
Those two are set to be subject of huge interest this summer, two players who appear set to define a generation given their sensational emergences in recent seasons.
In the last decade, only two players aged 20 or younger in Europe's top five leagues have scored 20+ goals in a single campaign.
Haaland 🤝 Mbappe pic.twitter.com/xvGYjLp4VW
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) March 20, 2021
Europe’s wealthiest sides are seemingly prepared to spend vast sums to secure their primary targets, with Haaland in particular at the centre of a huge transfer tussle, but will sides be as willing to part with such big money for Kane?
This, for all his talent, is a player who will turn 28 this summer and has a long history of troublesome ankle injuries.
Kane is perhaps now at the peak of his powers and remains an attractive option this summer even given his recent injury record, but as he edges towards 30 his chances of securing a move to one of Europe’s biggest sides will inevitably diminish.
Kane appears to have been left with a classic head vs heart decision, a situation that appears strikingly similar to that of another former England captain, Alan Shearer.
Shearer spent the last decade of his career valiantly – and unsuccessfully – attempting to bring silverware to boyhood side Newcastle, with two runners-up finishes in the FA Cup and a second-placed Premier League finish as close as he came.
Shearer enjoys god-like status at St James’ Park for his achievements with the Magpies, his club-record 206 goals in all competitions and long-lasting loyalty ensuring his legend.
— Hotspur Related (@HotspurRelated) March 21, 2021
Shearer insists, publicly at least, that he has no regrets from his career despite a lack of tangible team success, but Kane’s comments on wanting to win silverware are the clearest indication he will not wait around if Spurs are unable to challenge.
Shearer also arrived at Newcastle having already won the Premier League at Blackburn, Kane by contrast has yet to win a single winners’ medal in any competition.
An intriguing sub-plot of Kane’s dilemma is his chance of breaking individual records, his 215 goals for the north London side in all competitions the second-highest total in the club’s history and just 51 short of Jimmy Greaves’ all-time landmark.
Should he remain with Spurs and that record would undoubtedly be surpassed within a matter of years given his current trajectory, whilst Shearer’s Premier League total of 260 goals – a record many felt may never be bettered – could also be eclipsed with Kane currently ninth in the rankings.
Those achievements would cement Kane’s place in English football folklore forevermore, but there is a sense that the player would still feel a sense of underachievement without major team honours.
Kane will sit around an England dressing room this month as the leader of the side, though in the knowledge several of those around him are in a more fortuitous position of playing for silverware contenders.
Now could now prove the time for the forward to take a leap of faith, though he will likely have to force Spurs’ hand significantly if he is to secure a move.
Europe’s elite will be monitoring developments closely.