After months of rumour, chatter, and superfluous discussions, an outcome finally eventuated: Harry Kane stays at Tottenham Hotspur.
A Tweet from the player announced his decision to remain, or at least an acceptance of the situation. The entire saga has been a drain on Tottenham, quite rightfully riling up fans and unsettling the playing squad. It was hardly the most conducive of circumstances into which Nuno Espirito Santo first entered.
His substitute appearance against Wolves, and the positive reception he received from the travelling Tottenham fans, should quickly dissipate any awkwardness. Before this drama, Kane was noted for his immaculate work-ethic and propriety. With a new manager still enjoying a honeymoon period, reintergrating the star striker shouldn’t be an issue.
Nonetheless, he must demonstrate his commitment and further clarify his future plans. Fans now know that Kane stays ‘this summer’, but beyond then is still unknown. What happens in future seasons, or indeed the January transfer window?
Harry Kane Stays: Tottenham Forward to See Out Season With the Lilywhites.
The History of Kane-Gate
The contextual backstory is well known. Kane wanted to leave, with a number of suitors (most notably Manchester City) circling. Daniel Levy continued his hardball negotiating tactics, with the Mancunians unwilling to match his valuation. Added to this was an errant player acting uncharacteristically self-centred, and it all combined to leave fans deflated and disappointed.
At the start, many fans were saddened but accepting of his outbound desires. After all, failure by the club to build a team worthy of his talents and ambitious personified sporting negligence. He began with commensurate professionalism, applauding fans and carrying out his England duties with aplomb. That was until his no-show at training.
After inevitable public outcry, Harry Kane sought to clarify some of the egregious talk. He returned to the UK from his holiday mere days before he was due to return training, and was quarantining in line with government protocols. Unlike during the season, he was not eligible for sporting exemption, as his journey to and from the Bahamas was not for the fulfilment of elite sport.
But these rules were known beforehand. Others seem to have taken into account the inconsistent government rules, in football and in life. He could easily have returned five days before training to ensure Covid compliance.
For an example of how such a situation could’ve been handled, a short trip up the M1 would suffice. Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish is another home-grown attacking player approaching the peak of his career. He was eventually bought by Manchester City, but continued to train throughout the negotiations without fuss.
Kane’s actions was as strategically puzzling as it is enraging. It is hard to comprehend what he hopes to achieve with such a move. He knew he could only leave if Manchester City match Tottenham’s valuation. Throwing the toys out of the pram only encouraged Manchester City to engage in similar myopically aggressive negotiations. Hoping to secure a better deal, it scuppered the chances of such a transfer coming to fruition.
In the game of public opinion, this has only diminished admiration and confidence. It took away some of the shine from his national captaincy, charitable initiatives, mental health drives and LGBT+ inclusion advocacy. It may have the effect of promoting a ‘rally around the flag’ fan backing for Levy’s negotiations (if not for the man himself).
What Happens Next?
It’s pleasing to note that Kane finally came to his senses. But the future is another country, and knowing that Kane stays for now does not guarantee against a repeat of the situation in months to come.
Manchester City still remain without a striker, and the odds are lengthening that they will find one in the next week. The first half of the season could further expose their talismanic limitations, leaving Pep Guardiola returning to the transfer market.
The fundamentals are the same. Tottenham are not in a position to guarantee trophies and elite European football, despite the impressive start that Santo hath wrought. If clubs do come sniffing around, Kane needs to ensure he handles the situation much better than he did this time.
Departing a club in search of greener grass and more/any trophies isn’t an act of betrayal. Teddy Sheringham MBE returned to Spurs after four seasons, a treble and three Premier League medals with Manchester United. Gareth Bale, whatever one makes of his performances this past season, was welcomed back ecstatically and jubilantly by fans. These are despite both players making perfectly clear their desires for pastures new.
Burying further rumours for now is a welcome development. It would be such a shame for a man that has given his all to the club for so many years to depart under such acrimonious circumstances. Tottenham fans will be hoping that Kane staying will be permanent, rather than a temporary aberration.