Tottenham have made it crystal clear to Manchester United to forget any ideas they may have had about enticing Harry Kane to Old Trafford in a blockbuster transfer.
Kane has endured a difficult season, having been sidelined since New Years’ Day with a torn hamstring tendon and seen Mauricio Pochettino, whom he had a strong working relationship with, replaced at the helm by Jose Mourinho.
But it is the potential failure to qualify for the Champions League that could prove the decisive trigger for an exit and the striker spoke about his future this week on an Instagram live chat and the overriding message was a mixed one.
The striker admitted to being ambitious and said: “I’m not someone to just stay there for the sake of it.”
The admission was not really a surprise and Tottenham are apparently well aware of their star striker’s “growing agitation” with a place at Europe’s top table unlikely next season.
And while Tottenham are in a strong position to keep Kane and are under no pressure to sell the England man, the likes of Manchester United, Real Madrid, Juventus and Manchester City have all been touted as potential suitors.
Indeed, a report last month claimed the 26-year-old had two very strong reasons for wanting to move north to Old Trafford, while there is no doubting Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is in the market to strengthen his attack after Euro Paper Talk outlined three striker targets the Norwegian had in mind.
Any deal for Kane would likely set his suitors back something approaching a world transfer fee, with the 26-year-old contracted to Tottenham until 2024 and valued by his side at close to £200million.
In light of that, sources close to Kane have told the Manchester Evening News there is ‘no chance’ of United prising Kane away from Spurs due to the length of his contract.
Indeed, were the worst to happen and Spurs are backed into a corner over Kane – something the club feels he is unlikely to do – then they would surely look to sell him abroad, with Real and Juve the leading candidates to sign him.
Furthermore, the MEN claims United are planning to focus more on who they consider ‘more obtainable targets’, with deals for Jadon Sancho and Jack Grealish very much seen as top of the transfer agenda for club chiefs.
Nonetheless, and while Ed Woodward is very much a big fan of Kane, it’s claimed there’s an acceptance with the United executive vice-chairman that the striker’s transfer would be extremely difficult to pull off and that Tottenham actually sanctioning his sale to the Red Devils is highly unlikely.
As such, the report adds that Woodward has ‘spoken effusively’ about Kane in private.
When asked about a potential move for Kane earlier this season, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer commented: “There aren’t many [Robert] Lewandowskis and Harry Kanes.
“They’re like [Alan] Shearer, [Ruud] Van Nistelrooy – fantastic goalscorers
“Ours are different types of players, but I have to say I like someone who can finish half a chance and he does that. He’s one of the best, but he’s a Tottenham player.”
Carragher on Harry Kane future
Writing in a column for the Daily Telegraph, Carragher explained that with Kane beginning to edge towards 30 – and the uncertainty surrounding the transfer window – the striker could be put into a precarious position in the hunt for silverware.
“Other than the Manchester clubs, where can Kane go? And how viable is a move to the Etihad or Old Trafford?” he said.
“City need a long-term replacement for Sergio Aguero, who is one of the greats but approaching his 32nd birthday. I suspect they are more likely to spend big on a player in his early twenties.
“Kane turns 27 in July. We have no idea when the next transfer window will open or next season start. If Kane does not leave soon, the situation gets trickier for him.
“When players hit 28, psychologically it makes a big difference to clubs. They see him as nearer 30, recognise there is no resale value and balk at high valuations.
“Manchester United’s need for a top-class No.9 is urgent and they might see Kane as the ideal fit, but they will apply the same logic if the fee is upwards of £150 million.
“From Kane’s perspective, is United’s situation better than Spurs over the past five years? There is a four-point gap in the Premier League but United remain in transition.”
Kane has scored 181 goals in 278 games for Spurs, as well as 32 goals in 45 England outings.