The Anticipated Transfer Saga
Manchester United’s potential acquisition of Harry Kane was a summer storyline that many football enthusiasts closely watched. As Laurie Whitwell of The Athletic aptly highlighted, “Despite all the anticipation over Kane in April and May, there were never any real talks between people at United and Tottenham, or with the player’s representatives, led by his brother Charlie.”
Kane and United: A Dream Unfulfilled
Many in the Red Devils camp believed Kane’s signature would have been transformative. Kane, with a year left in his Spurs contract, seemed tantalisingly available. United’s qualification to the Champions League, coupled with Spurs’ European absence, seemingly made the stars align. The narrative was strong: would Tottenham’s chairman, Daniel Levy, sell Kane or risk losing him for free in the 2023-24 season?
However, as Whitwell explained, “By mid-June however, United had decided to go for Rasmus Hojlund as their big signing up front rather than Kane.” A myriad of factors influenced this – Levy’s reputation for tough negotiations, United’s previous experience with Barcelona over Frenkie de Jong, and internal disagreements on Kane’s value.
The Financial Implications of Signing Kane
Manchester United’s decision to pass on Kane was not without reason. They were quoted a whopping £30million in annual wages and a transfer fee exceeding £100million. Kane’s age also became a point of contention. While Erik ten Hag, United’s manager, remained a fan of the English captain, even remarking, “He’s a great striker… It’s a miss for the Premier League,” the economics didn’t appeal to the club.
Kane’s Journey to Bayern Munich
Despite Manchester United’s absence from the negotiation table, Kane was not short of suitors. Whitwell wrote, “Real Madrid put together a £60million bid, and Paris Saint-Germain also made an approach.” Yet, it was Bayern Munich who ultimately secured Kane’s services after weeks of negotiations, even weathering a late hiccup over an additional £20million.
Bayern’s manager, Thomas Tuchel, expressed his elation: “It’s a big thing, we took the skipper of England out of England… He makes the team better and gives you what you want from a nine.”
United’s Decision and Kane’s Promising Start at Bayern
While Manchester United may have felt they landed a younger and more economically viable prospect in Rasmus Hojlund, the irony lies in Kane making his debut for Bayern three weeks earlier than Hojlund due to the latter’s back issues.
Furthermore, Kane’s initial success in Germany only rubs salt in the wound. With four goals and an assist in his opening four Bundesliga matches, the English captain stated, “There is a reason that Bayern Munich brought me to the club… They feel I can be a big help and I feel I can help the team as well.”
What Lies Ahead?
As Manchester United prepare to face Bayern in the Champions League, Kane’s absence from the Red Devils’ frontline will undoubtedly be a focal point of the contest. Whitwell’s thorough reportage captures the intricate web of decisions, finances, and opportunities that make up football’s thrilling transfer market.
In the final analysis, while Kane ponders the potential of returning to England and perhaps breaking Alan Shearer’s record, for now, Manchester United will be left wondering about the ‘what ifs’.