It’s rare a player of Kane’s stature is kept at a club kicking and screaming against their will. Even Cristiano Ronaldo, Luis Suarez and Tottenham’s Luka Modric finally forced their way out 12 months after being denied their moves.Yet the England captain must fear he is an exception, having to reconcile himself to staying at Tottenham after Levy didn’t budge from his £150million asking price despite huge pressure.
The biggest loser is Kane himself. As the most famous trophyless footballer in the world, he didn’t dream of Europa Conference League football kicking the ball around as a kid in Walthamstow.
If two of them push hard, it’s normally enough to force through a deal – unless the third side of the triangle happens to be Daniel Levy, as Harry Kane and Manchester City have found to their cost.One of them just refused to be more nastier
Unfortunately, his co-ordinated power play, beginning with a nudge-nudge interview with fellow celeb Gary Neville, appears to have failed spectacularly. His Achilles heel has been the bumper contract he signed without a release clause three years ago when Mauricio Pochettino was in charge and everything looked rosy.
Manchester City are also going to suffer by not going the extra mile to satisfy Levy. Given the British transfer record was ‘only’ £89million at the start of this window, the champions felt £125million was fair price for a striker who has turned 28 and gone through his fair share of injuries.
But they failed to recognise Levy’s desire to be considered the country’s toughest negotiator and the distaste Tottenham’s billionaire owner Joe Lewis felt by Kane flirting with other clubs via Neville. It’s also true the player hasn’t had the ‘nastiness’ to agitate in the manner City must have wished for. The England captain was sensitive to the backlash from Spurs fans after failing to play in their first Premier League game. He is a less ruthless personality than Gareth Bale for example who may not have kicked a ball quite so quickly had Tottenham denied him a move to Real Madrid.
So, there was no transfer request from Kane, no mystery injury to stop him playing, and that weakened City’s negotiating position.The Abu Dhabi owners do have enough money to pay for Kane but they have a wish to be accepted by European football’s establishment and don’t want any more financial fairplay rows. Having agreed to pay £100m for Jack Grealish, £150m for Kane has been a step too far, particularly as they haven’t been able to get any big-hitters like Bernardo Silva and Aymeric Laporte off the wage bill.
On the pitch, it will hurt Pep Guardiola who hasn’t signed a replacement for the departed Sergio Aguero, City’s anticipated trot to the title and possibly Champions League looks far harder without Kane as Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United are all stronger. Guardiola won’t get away with having Ilkay Gundogan as his top scorer again.
Kane’s footballing brain would have fitted City’s style perfectly and he built up a good partnership with Grealish during the Euros. If the decision was purely down to Guardiola, the money for Kane would ideally be found.He must only hope that City can overcome the setback. There is precedent across Manchester where Sir Alex Ferguson missed out on signing Paul Gascoigne and Alan Shearer but rolled his sleeves up and won many more trophies than they did.
In the short-term, Levy will be regarded as a winner by standing firm against player power.But we will have to wait a couple of years to find out the true story. Given Tottenham’s large stadium debt, cashing in on Kane this summer might prove to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. From now, he will get older and his contract shorter.
Levy’s reputation for a deal doesn’t translate into success for the club either. In 20 years with him as chairman, Spurs have won only one trophy, the League Cup, representing the worst period in their modern history.All sides have made mistakes preventing Kane’s move from happening. The player will just pray Nuno Espirito Santo can make Tottenham more competitive this season than Jose Mourinho managed.In the short-term, Levy will be regarded as a winner by standing firm against player power.
But we will have to wait a couple of years to find out the true story. Given Tottenham’s large stadium debt, cashing in on Kane this summer might prove to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. From now, he will get older and his contract shorter. Levy’s reputation for a deal doesn’t translate into success for the club either.
In 20 years with him as chairman, Spurs have won only one trophy, the League Cup, representing the worst period in their modern history.All sides have made mistakes preventing Kane’s move from happening. The player will just pray Nuno Espirito Santo can make Tottenham more competitive this season than Jose Mourinho managed.
Perhaps having a super-agent rather than family advisors would have helped. The Neville interview irritated rather than intimidated Spurs and Kane didn’t then have the poker skills to go ‘all in’ and demand to leave with a transfer request.The way the Spurs players rallied together to beat Manchester City must have been sobering for him. Son Heung-min relished being the talisman and matchwinner.
There is a misconception that Kane is Tottenham’s captain when in fact it’s World Cup winner Hugo Lloris who wears the armband.The sorry saga has left no winners but the immediate questions will be pointed at Kane and City.