One of the (many) ways to gauge how Harry Kane and Tottenham have found themselves on divergent paths in recent times is to look at where the club finished in the Premier League table in each of the two seasons in which he scored 30 goals.

The 29-year-old first managed that feat in 2017-18, with a double in a 5-4 win over Leicester on the final day helping to secure a third-place league finish for an exciting young team managed by Mauricio Pochettino.

A few weeks later, Kane signed that (now infamous) six-year contract with no release clause to commit his long-term future to a club that looked to be on the up; within 12 months they had opened their state-of-the-art new stadium and competed in the Champions League final for the first time in the club’s history.

Last Sunday, Kane hit the 30-goal mark for a second time, again netting twice in the last game as Spurs ended their campaign on a high with a 4-1 victory against Leeds.

This time, though, his goals only helped Spurs finish eighth in the table. Unless something miraculous happens over the next few weeks, another contract extension does not look likely this time. Instead, Kane is surely considering his next move as the window to win the trophies he craves continues to edge shut.

With a few of Europe’s heavyweights in need of a 30-goal-a-season striker, Kane would surely have no shortage of suitors this summer if he opts to leave Spurs.

But as was the case in 2021 when Manchester City were interested in the England captain, Daniel Levy will not make it easy for any would-be suitors to prise his best player away.

Here are the options facing Kane this summer:

Join Man Utd

Kane’s appetite to break individual records remains as strong as ever, and after becoming both Tottenham and England’s all-time leading goalscorer over the past few months, he is now hunting down Alan Shearer’s Premier League tally.

With 213 Premier League goals to his name, Kane is now only 47 behind Shearer, a total that he could conceivably surpass in the next two seasons if he remains injury-free. Kane has averaged over 23 league goals per season since 2014-15 and only missed four matches over the past three campaigns combined.

If he were to join another English club, Manchester United would appear to be the most obvious fit. City have Erling Haaland obliterating records most weeks, Liverpool have given their frontline a facelift in recent windows, and Levy surely would not countenance any offers from Arsenal or Chelsea.

United, meanwhile, are in desperate need of a goalscoring No 9. Marcus Rashford has scored 30 goals in all competitions this season but is more effective when cutting in from the left, while Anthony Martial and Wout Weghorst – who is unlikely to be signed permanently from Burnley – have managed only 11 combined.

The path from north London to greater Manchester was once a well-trodden one, with Teddy Sheringham, Michael Carrick and Dimitar Berbatov all making that trip.

But given Sir Alex Ferguson once quipped that dealing with Levy was “more painful than my hip replacement”, it might not be an easy deal for Erik ten Hag’s Red Devils to do.

Move abroad

At this stage of his career, Kane needs to join a club that is ready to compete and win major trophies immediately. That potentially rules out Newcastle, who are building gradually towards their long-term goals.

Although United won the Carabao Cup and face City in next weekend’s FA Cup final, they are less ready to launch an assault on their domestic league than Bayern Munich or Real Madrid. Both clubs have been linked with Kane in recent months.

Bayern have won 11 Bundesligas in a row after dramatically pipping Borussia Dortmund to this season’s title and have recent Champions League pedigree after winning the competition in 2020. They have also been without a superstar striker since selling Robert Lewandowski to Barcelona and missing out on Haaland to City.

Soccer Football - Bundesliga - FC Cologne v Bayern Munich - RheinEnergieStadion, Cologne, Germany - May 27, 2023 Bayern Munich's Manuel Neuer celebrates with the trophy and teammates after winning the Bundesliga REUTERS/Thilo Schmuelgen DFL REGULATIONS PROHIBIT ANY USE OF PHOTOGRAPHS AS IMAGE SEQUENCES AND/OR QUASI-VIDEO.
Bayern Munich won the Bundesliga again this season (Photo: Reuters)

Real Madrid, meanwhile, endured a rare campaign in which they failed to win La Liga or the Champions League, although they did at least clinch the Copa del Rey.

With Saudi Arabian clubs reportedly waving Riyal notes in front of Karim Benzema, Madrid could have a slot to fill. Gareth Bale would be able to give Kane a good steer on nearby golf courses too.

From a sporting perspective, a move abroad might be Kane’s best option but it is also the most unlikely. Not only is he hunting down that Premier League record, but Kane also has three young children and his wife Kate is pregnant with a fourth. Uprooting his young family may not be the most appealing prospect.

Stay at Spurs

When Kane trudged solemnly around the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium pitch, waving to the fans who had remained behind after Spurs’ 3-1 defeat to Brentford in their final home game of the season, it was interpreted by some as a farewell.

However, as Ryan Mason said after, it wasn’t the first time that Kane had made such a gesture. “I remember sitting here two years ago and you guys were convinced he was leaving, saying the same thing,” he recalled, referencing Kane’s “goodbye” after a 2-1 defeat to Aston Villa closed out the 2020-21 season.

Levy blocked Kane’s exit two years ago and may do so again even if with his contract expiring in 2024, this represents the final opportunity to sell him for a reasonable fee.

With his popularity with supporters at an all-time low, Levy could be inclined to keep hold of Kane in the hope of persuading him to commit to a new contract before next summer.

A lot would have to happen for that to happen, though, considering Spurs are currently without both a first-team manager and a director of football, following the departures of Antonio Conte and Fabio Paratici. The club isn’t exactly making a compelling case for players to want to stay right now.

That could change if Spurs appoint an exciting, progressive manager and show ambition in the transfer window. Last season ended in dismal fashion, but the squad arguably has more talent in it now than it did in 2021. Harness that potential and add quality in a few key areas, and Spurs should make progress in 2023-24. They can hardly get much worse.

By admin