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Time for Kane to park personal ambitions as huge-money moves must take back seat

Jamie Carragher


 

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'Kane turns 27 in July. If he does not leave soon, the situation gets trickier for him.' Photo: PA

'Kane turns 27 in July. If he does not leave soon, the situation gets trickier for him.' Photo: PA

PA

'Kane turns 27 in July. If he does not leave soon, the situation gets trickier for him.' Photo: PA

Harry Kane has reached the crossroads of his career at the worst time possible. In other circumstances, the Tottenham striker's comments suggesting he would consider a move in the near future would be reasonable.

Spurs fans may not like it, but I can understand why Kane is wondering whether his trophy ambitions would be better served elsewhere.

The Mauricio Pochettino era is over and the lifespan of an excellent but ultimately unsuccessful team is winding down.

The refreshing of the Spurs squad never materialised when it was needed, and it is fair for players to ask themselves if they want to be part of the next rebuild or seek pastures new.

But these are far from normal times, with clubs losing money and needing to cut costs rather than plan major investments in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. That means if players in the highest price bracket want out of their clubs, there is less chance they will get their wish.

Kane is in that category. A limited number of clubs can afford him, and I am not sure how many have the appetite to engage in a fractious negotiation with Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy in the current climate.

Other than the Manchester clubs, where can Kane go? And how viable is a move to the Etihad or Old Trafford?

City need a 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 when next season will 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 them as nearer 30, recognise there is no resale value.

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 (€170m).

From Kane's perspective, is United's situation better than Spurs's over the past five years? There is a four-point gap in the Premier League but United remain in transition.

It would be a gamble for Kane to go to Old Trafford given there is no strong evidence United will be ready to challenge for the Premier League soon.

Even if Kane was 21 or 22, although it would be a no-brainer for all the top clubs to pursue him, it would be difficult to make a deal happen soon.

Touted

Look at Borussia Dortmund's Jadon Sancho. He is another touted for a summer move who must have concerns about whether interested clubs still have the budget to spend big.

The difference is Sancho has time on his side. He can play in the Bundesliga for another year and still be one of the most wanted signings in the seasons ahead.

Kane's situation is more complicated. He will continue to score goals for the next five or six years but in the past two years he has missed 19 league games due to injury. That is half a season.

His physical statistics are dropping, which might be a consequence of the many occasions he has had to ease his way back to 100 per cent fitness, or adapt his playing style.

What Kane, Sancho or any other players considering their options have in common is it has never been so dangerous to think about, or certainly publicly discuss, personal ambitions.

Kane inadvertently warned other players it would be wiser to park that talk for another day, namely until the current health crisis has passed.

The risk of appearing out of touch with public opinion is too great, supporters not taking kindly to anyone who appears to be thinking of their career at a time like this.

The speed with which Levy told players expecting a big-money move to "get real" is no coincidence.

So soon after Kane's interview, it must be interpreted as a direct response to his striker.

I am cynical about Levy's motives. His words can be interpreted as pre-empting Spurs spending less in the next transfer window than they have in the last two.

Nevertheless, Levy is right about the impact on transfer activity, as is former Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness.

"I can't imagine £100m transfers in the future," he said. "We most likely have a new football world in front of us."

I do not believe football will permanently change - certainly not at the elite level, where the biggest and wealthiest clubs will eventually overcome the financial challenges.

Temporarily, the mega fees we have seen cannot continue their upward trajectory. Those footballers in the highest price bracket thinking of a big-money move need to wake up.

Clubs in the lower leagues are pleading for help to survive, and those at the top are not immune to these dangerous times.

Barcelona's squad have accepted a 70 per cent pay cut, and there has been mounting pressure for Premier League players to have salaries reduced.

If such cost-cutting is enforced to enable their board to put together a £150m transfer package for a footballer on £250,000 a week, it will feel wrong.

With that background, while we have not seen the last £100m deal, the circumstances dictate that anyone hoping for one in the near future ought to think long and hard before pursuing it. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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