Tottenham were delighted to hold on to Harry Kane during the summer, but early indications are worrying as he has yet to look fully up to speed this season. Tottenham started the season with three successive victories and there was optimism for a good campaign under Nuno. Kane came into the team for Watford and helped his team to a win, even if his own personal display was underwhelming. In the last two games, Spurs have looked far off the pace in two London derbies. These are usually matches in which their talisman thrives, but he has been a peripheral figure.
The worry for Tottenham supporters is his lack of involvement at the start of the new season. Kane has only had four shots in the Premier League, at an average of 1.25 per ninety minutes. It is a very small sample size, but it is worth discussing as Kane is usually a high volume shooter. To underline his poor form, he averaged 3.91 shots per ninety minutes in his excellent 2020/21 campaign. The England captain was one of the best players in the league last season and that is why he was targeted by Manchester City.
One of the encouraging additions to Kane’s game last season was his increased creativity. He ended the season with more assists than any other player in the division with 14. The Spurs forward was always looking to drop into pockets of space around the halfway line. From these positions, he could release Son Heung-min, as the South Korean enjoys running in behind. The relationship between the pair was the best part of Jose Mourinho’s tenure.
Like his shooting, there has been a decline in his creative numbers at the beginning of the new season. The sample size means that it is too small to draw big conclusions, but the stats do show some issues in his game at the moment. Last season, he averaged 3.3 shot creating actions per ninety minutes. This has dropped to 2.18 shot creating actions per ninety minutes under Nuno.
These numbers may suggest Kane doesn’t have his match fitness back yet after a shortened pre-season. However, he looked a lot better during the recent international break. He managed to score three times for England, showing that he does still have an eye for goal.
The problem for Nuno and Tottenham is that they aren’t getting him into goal-scoring positions. Both Steven Bergwijn and Lucas Moura (7) have had more attempts on goal than Kane, despite spending fewer minutes on the pitch. The fluid front three of Bergwijn, Son and Lucas may be a better fit for Tottenham right now.
It is incredible to be writing that just weeks after Tottenham turned down huge money from Manchester City for Kane. Many speculated that Daniel Levy will live to regret that decision. The early signs of Kane under Nuno aren’t very promising for the club.
However, Kane remains a world class striker. He will score goals this season and his threat will increase. The England captain is too good to be on the outside for too long. Whether he will score enough to validate Tottenham’s decision is another question.