Harry Kane has hinted that his long-term future may lie away from Tottenham Hotspur when football resumes. During an interview with Jamie Redknapp, he has sent a message to the club that his commitment shouldn’t be assumed. Sky Sports report the following quotes from the England captain:
“It’s one of those things, I couldn’t say yes, I couldn’t say no. I love Spurs, I’ll always love Spurs. But it’s one of those things – I’ve always said if I don’t feel we’re progressing as a team or going in the right direction, then I’m not someone to just stay there for the sake of it,”
It seems strange timing from Kane considering he is currently out injured and hasn’t featured for the club since New Year’s Day. His injury record has become a concern for Tottenham, as he has suffered eight injuries in the since the beginning of the 2016/17 season. Prior to this, he had a near perfect injury record and rarely missed a game.
The biggest problem for the England captain has been his ankle issues as these have affected his attacking output when fit. A quick look at his shot volume will highlight this, as one of his biggest strengths at his peak was his ability to get shots in on goal. During his 30-goal season in 2017/18, he averaged five shots per Premier League game. This fell to 3.6 in 2018/19 and it has fallen again to 2.8 this campaign.
The further decline this season may have been caused by Tottenham’s own struggles. The side have certainly suffered a drop-off following the Champions League final. Christian Eriksen has departed, while others have fallen out of favour. This ultimately led to popular manager Mauricio Pochettino leaving the club. It isn’t a settled environment and that may have led to Kane’s numbers dropping further. He managed nine Premier League goals (excluding penalties) in 20 matches before his injury.
According to FB Ref, Kane is averaging 0.27 non-penalty expected goals (npxG) per ninety minutes. This ranks him 32nd in the competition, behind team-mates Dele Alli, Son Heung-min and Lucas Moura. He is also averaging a lower number than Jay Rodriguez, Ashley Barnes, Sebastien Haller and David McGoldrick. Considering Kane is regarded as one of the best strikers in Europe, these underlying numbers are a huge concern.
The concern regarding Kane’s output has existed online since the World Cup in 2018. There has yet to be a period of consistency that has silenced those critics. The arrival of Jose Mourinho may not provide the solution that supporters will be hoping for in terms of their star striker’s performance levels. The Portuguese manager is likely to use Kane differently to Pochettino and the striker may have to drop deeper, with Son and Steven Bergwijn providing the thrust in the final third.
Kane has an excellent passing range, but it is a waste of his talents to have him playing too deep. At his best, Kane was effective due to his shot volume and finishing ability. At the age of 26, he will still have ambitions of winning major honours and establishing himself as one of the best attackers in Europe.
Despite his recent statistical decline, the Tottenham striker has a big reputation and there would be significant interest from across the continent if the club were open to selling. They could generate a big fee for him. It would be disappointing to see an academy graduate leave, but it could be the best footballing move for Spurs.
There is no guarantee that Kane will be able to get back to his best and his injury record since 2016 is a huge concern. Tottenham are approaching a rebuild under Mourinho in the summer. A summer sale of their biggest asset wouldn’t be as disastrous as it would first appear. In fact, it could be a great decision for all involved.