Harry Kane is a very good footballer. Did you know that? Manchester United certainly do, after reportedly declaring their interest in purchasing the striker for an eye-watering £200 million fee.
Despite their on-field performances being well short of the European elite, United’s willingness to spend certainly ranks up there with the big boys. And, after being linked with every member of football’s upper crust, the rumour mill has finally churned out a potential move for the Tottenham forward.
But, would Kane ever be sold?
If you give a bargaining junkie like, Daniel Levy, a chance to drive up the price of a star player and sell them on, (see Gareth Bale and Luka Modric) then it always remains a possibility. But, whether the England international stays or goes is more a matter of should he be let go.
And the answer, quite obviously, is no. Why? Because he is a very good footballer. A very very good footballer. One Spurs will never be able to replace.
Let’s say, for instance, the deal goes ahead. Harry Kane is pictured holding up a United shirt next to a smug, Ed Woodward. A cringy announcement video goes out on the club's social media pages. Kane goes for a tour of the training ground that consists of having some light-hearted and polite introductory banter with the club chefs and kit-men.
But, where does that leave Spurs?
Since Kane’s breakthrough in the 2014/15 season, Spurs have been without the England captain for 25 matches. From those 25 matches, Spurs’ win percentage has dropped from 57.2% with Kane, to 44% without him. In short, Spurs are a lot worse without Kane.
It seems common sense, Kane is one of the best strikers in the world and to lose him would see their team weakened. But, in this hypothetical scenario, the prospect of a large fee to reinvest in the squad may seem like a smart move.
So here, hypothetically, Spurs sit, without their best player and with a massive gap to fill in terms of on the field performance. Where do they go from there?
Well, a pressing need would obviously be in the striker position. And, with £200 million to layout on a replacement, you'd think Spurs would have no problem attracting a top forward to White Hart Lane (or the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, or whatever you want to call it.)
Let’s look at the calibre of forward that could realistically replace or even get close to replacing Kane’s level of production. Cristiano Ronaldo is out of the question; he wants to finish his career winning trophies with Chiellini and Dybala not chasing top four with Serge Aurier. Sergio Aguero would be an unlikely transfer as well. Robert Lewandowski would have the pick of the world's top sides clambering after him if he ever decided to leave Bayern Munich, I doubt Spurs would be on his radar. The rest of the elite striking talent pool are either old and declining; like Luis Suarez. Not as good as Kane; like Romelu Lukaku. Or just not attainable for one reason or another.
Notice how most of the options listed are in their early 30’s, in comparison to the 26-year-old Kane. Not only would it not be smart to sell a striker that would be giving you at least 5 to 6 years more of world-class production, but it would not be smart to spend a massive outlay on a striker in their 30’s.
Also, notice how no striker in this list is as well rounded as Kane. The England forward not only scores goals but drops deep to help build attacks. He can occupy physical centre backs and win flick-ons at a frighteningly efficient rate thanks to his 6’2” frame. And, although he doesn’t possess blinding pace, he can get in behind a defence and cause problems that way if need be. Whatever style of play or tactics you employ, no striker in the world offers as much production in as many areas of the pitch as Kane, which is important when playing with a Tottenham team with less squad depth as their adversaries as injuries to key players can significantly alter their playing style.
So, after Spurs realise, again hypothetically, that all the world’s elite forwards either can’t or won’t come to them, where do they go from there? Well, they could invest in other areas of the pitch to improve the balance of their squad. In this case, who do they go for?
Well, it's already been established how unlikely it is that Spurs grab one of the world's elite. Even the biggest clubs in the world these days are rarely buying superstars in their peak years as they’re just too expensive. Spurs, thinking they can buy a few superstars with £200 million, is like a time traveller from the 1950s smugly strolling into a high-end car dealership with ten grand. That kind of money just won’t get you the quality that it once did before.
This means Spurs would have to go for a younger type of player no older than 23 or 24, to fill the gaps in their squad. This, ordinarily, wouldn’t be a bad thing, to buy younger players who in a few years will hit their prime for a fraction of the price of older players is a smart transfer policy. But, by doing this, Spurs would essentially be regressing to another rebuild, with a team far less capable on the field and with the few top players they do have potentially not being happy at their prospects of earning a trophy or an elite league position looking dire.
That’s simply not the direction this team has been placed in right now. They fired the man who got them into this position in the first place, Mauricio Pochettino, who constantly preached patience and waxed lyrical about the ‘project’ he was building at Spurs. They replaced him with short term thinker Jose Mourinho, who’s winning pedigree was meant to get this talented team over the line by winning trophies and challenging for titles. To sell Kane would be leaving this team in disarray, with no sense of direction and no light at the end of the tunnel.
Harry Kane is a very good footballer. To sell him would turn a team who fancy themselves as perennial titles challengers with a clear objective to win trophies into a muddled directionless mess. Heading nowhere, both in the long term and short term.
If Daniel Levy is reading (something tells me he isn’t) and is asking himself if he should sell his star man, I have the answer.
No. No, you should not.
This article was written exclusively for golear.co.uk