Alan Shearer has told Harry Kane it’s now or never for the forward to leave Tottenham as speculation continues to surround his future with the club.
Kane’s future looks set to be one of the stories of the summer transfer window with suggestions the England captain could ask to leave Spurs, the north London side having faded since a bright start to the season and in danger of missing out on Champions League football.
The 27-year-old is yet to win major silverware in his career and has spoken previously of his desire to compete for the game’s biggest prizes, a scenario which looks increasingly unlikely in a Tottenham team that have regressed since the departure of Mauricio Pochettino.
Manchester United and Manchester City have been linked with a big-money bid for Kane this summer and Shearer has warned the forward a decision over his future is likely to be a ‘now or never’ decision.
“I’ve got way too much respect for Harry as a player and a man to offer him advice on a decision that I know for myself is rarely linear and that may not, in the end, be his to make. What I would say, though, is this: if he’s going to leave, it looks like this summer or not at all,” Shearer writes in The Athletic.
“Harry is already a legend at Tottenham Hotspur. As England captain and the most complete English striker of his generation, it is only natural that his situation and the club he plays for should command debate. That’s all fine and part of the game, but having had some experience of a big move in similar — but not identical — circumstances, there are all sorts of complications and caveats and moving parts to consider.“
Shearer believes that Kane’s contract leaves Tottenham in a strong position when it comes to potential interest in the England captain, who has three years remaining on his current deal.
However, the forward has previously said he would be prepared to leave in search of silverware should Spurs fail to match his ambitions, with the Carabao Cup final later this month the club’s sole chance of ending a 13-year wait for a major trophy this season.
Shearer says Spurs currently ‘look a long way off’ being a side capable of challenging the division’s best sides on a consistent basis and believes Kane has reached a ‘pivotal moment’ in his career if he is to win the game’s biggest trophies.
“The one indisputable fact is that Harry is under contract at Tottenham for three more years. That six-year deal he signed in June 2018 was a fantastic piece of business by Daniel Levy and his club. It tied down their most saleable asset and it gives them a thick layer of protection now. I’m not convinced it was quite so great for Harry, even though the landscape at Spurs was much more positive back then.
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“It’s worth reminding ourselves what Harry said at that stage. ‘It’s been fantastic to consistently get in the Champions League so I’m really excited to have another go at that and with the Premier League and FA Cup, we’ll look to go as far as we can,’ he told Tottenham’s official website. When they left White Hart Lane, he had said winning one of the big trophies had ‘got to be the next celebration. That’s got to be the next step’.
“It did not feel like a ludicrous ambition. Spurs finished third, second and third in the Premier League under Mauricio Pochettino and then lost the Champions League final to Liverpool. Since then, they’ve regressed. I’m aware that Jose Mourinho’s team were top of the table in December, but that increasingly feels like a mirage. At present they are seventh, a distant 25 points behind Manchester City, the runaway leaders.”
“The point is that Harry could no longer say the same things about winning the Premier League. After a difficult season, you can only see Liverpool rebooting. Manchester City are approaching their best. Chelsea are improving. Manchester United are contenders again. Would the picture change at Spurs if Mourinho went? Maybe. As Leicester City and West Ham show, a place in the top four is open to clubs that get things right, but in terms of more than that? Spurs look a long way off. And so that leads back to the same question: is it enough?
“When I moved to Newcastle for a world-record fee in 1996, I did so with the aim of winning trophies. That was the driver for me, as well as the pull of coming home. It didn’t work out like that, of course, but for most of my decade at St James’ Park and with lots of ups and downs on the way, we were trying. Harry is a big player; he won’t accept staying at Spurs for the sake of it. He has to have something to buy into. Right now, winning means leaving.“
“None of that means Harry should leave; to repeat, that’s not something I would ever say. But if we judge him on his words from two or three years ago, then it’s certainly a subject he will be considering now. Would winning the Carabao Cup be enough to scratch the itch? What about if he became the first England skipper to lift a trophy since 1966?
“Harry is 28 in three months and this is why I think we’re approaching a pivotal moment. He’s at his peak, the ready-made article, an absolute guarantee of goals wherever he plays and the opposite of a gamble, but a buying club is going to want three or four of his best years in return for what would certainly be an exorbitant transfer fee. This is that time. Twelve months down the line and it becomes that bit more difficult to justify.”