By qualifying for next season’s Champions League, it’s unlikely Tottenham will be looking to cash in on any of their star players in the coming transfer window. But after winning the Premier League Golden Boot, will Spurs’ resolve be tested if Harry Kane excels and contributes some important goals at Euro 2016?
Kane scored just once in his first nine Premier League appearances last season, netting Tottenham’s third goal in the 4-1 thrashing of Manchester City at White Hart Lane in September. It was the sort of goal an out-of-form striker scores, a half-volley on the rebound that crept just under the crossbar, a lucky break (albeit well taken).
Perhaps ‘out-of-form’ is an inaccurate term. Despite a luckless spell in front of goal, Kane contributed admirably elsewhere with superb link-up play and a leader’s endeavour – a commendable trait for such a young player. Kane is still just 22, but plays with the refinement and governance of a seasoned stalwart.
Those qualities meant the striker’s goal drought would never last. Kane bagged a hattrick at Bournemouth in late October before a run of seven goals in nine games saw him reach double figures by the New Year. He carried that form into 2016, finishing the season on 25 league goals and winning the much sought-after Premier League Golden Boot, a personal consolation prize for his club’s failed title bid.
Kane has had a fine time of it on the international stage of late, too. He may have scored just twice in England’s Euro 2016 qualifying campaign, but he has surely cemented himself in Roy Hodgson’s preferred starting eleven. Even with Wayne Rooney, Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge all hitting form late in the domestic season, it’s more than likely Kane will lead the line for the Three Lions in France.
The brilliance of Kane is rooted in his ability to create something out of nothing. He exemplified that particularly capability with two goals in the latter stages of the season: a wonderful, curling effort in the North London derby at White Hart Lane; and a sublime touch, turn and finish to equalise against Liverpool at Anfield. In his two breakout campaigns, Kane has found the net against Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool, on top of four goals in three appearances against Arsenal, emphatically demonstrating his big stage credentials.
This bodes well for England as they go into the Euros full of reserved but warranted hope. Kane himself will believe he can have a big say at the tournament, and Spurs fans will tell you that anything can happen with such a striker leading the line. His club will be wary, however, that a good campaign will lead to an intimidating level of interest in their talismanic frontman.
Manchester United have been heavily linked with bids in the last two transfer windows, and Kane’s second stunning season in succession could result in attention from even higher places. Real Madrid are always keen on acquiring a new toy, while Bayern Munich might look into creating Europe’s fiercest attack by partnering Kane with Robert Lewandowski or Thomas Muller.
Tottenham’s poster-boy is regarded differently than past heroes among the Spurs support. Kane isn’t expected to jump ship at the drop of the hat à la Luka Modric and Gareth Bale. Rather, he’s thought to be excited about leading the team into next season’s Champions League, playing in front of huge, adoring crowds at the new stadium, creating a modern legacy at a club dripping in tradition.
But not many can ignore the hubbub when the likes of Real Madrid and Bayern Munich come calling. Kane will likely favour remaining with Tottenham over a move to Manchester United; Spurs have a more coherent immediate future than the Red Devils, who can’t offer Champions League football even if they can propose a colossal wage packet.
Realistically, Tottenham face a nervy summer providing Kane impresses at the Euros. But the fans needn’t worry for now. With high-profile European football finally in the bag, there are signs Spurs are set to break the mould this time around by retaining their stars rather than cashing in. Whatever money Daniel Levy does decide to spend won’t be from the sale of Kane, but from the careful utilisation of funds gained from selling unneeded fringe players.
Always a team player, Kane will be pleased to see new recruits joining the Tottenham ranks. By doing this, Spurs are aiming to boost the club’s profile in Europe, in turn convincing Kane there is no urgent need to seek a move away from North London. But as the supporters know all too well, anything can happen in football.