Harry Kane announced on Wednesday that he is staying at Tottenham. His desire to leave White Hart Lane and join Manchester City was certainly no secret. However, those ambitions will be put on hold, as City and Spurs could not come to an agreement over his fee.
There appear to be some pretty clear winners and losers from this decision in the moment. But this has the potential to be a move where nobody wins.
With only a week remaining in the transfer window, City come off as big, immediate losers. They will be hard-pressed to find someone that isn’t Kane to fill the large, Kane-shaped hole in their attack. Failing to do so could cost them the Premier League title and a Champions League run.
Another obvious loser is Kane himself. This might have been his best shot to move and get to a team competing for the highest honors. With his age, injury history and the strength of the striker market next summer, he may not get another chance.
Tottenham is the most interesting party in this non-transaction. They feel like winners in the moment. They keep their vice-captain, a club icon and a fantastic player. But they could look back on this decision with regret.
This may have been the club’s last chance to sell Kane for big money. The asking price this summer was reported to be £150 million. Fabrizio Romano reported City’s last bid was in the range of £128 million. That may not have met their asking price, but they risk not getting anything near that next summer.
Next summer Kane will be a year older and the centre-forward market will be much more robust. The likes of Erling Haaland, Alexander Isak and potentially Kylian Mbappe could occupy Kane’s suitors.
On top of the possibly depressed striker market, Spurs have to worry about possible injury or decline from Kane. His injury history is long and well documented, specifically his repeated ankle injuries. Another one of those or an off year could collapse the striker’s value.
Tottenham is taking on real risk not selling the Englishman. The reward for assuming that risk isn’t necessarily enough. Kane is still an elite player and keeping him for another season is a move to win now. The team attempting to do that is eerily similar to the one they had last season that finished 7th and 9th on expected goal difference, according to fbref.com. They’re accepting the risk for what likely isn’t a top four side.
All that said, this could still work out for Spurs. They could manage to find someone to give them similar money as they could have received this summer. But it doesn’t seem likely and the team they’re doing this for probably caps out at the Europa League. All in all, it’s a lot of risk for what is not necessarily commensurate reward.