England captain Harry Kane has announced he will stay with his club Tottenham, declaring he is “100 per cent focused” on Spurs’ success.
The 28-year-old had been heavily linked with a big-money move to Premier League rival Manchester City, and has barely played in the first two rounds of the season.
But it appears City just wasn’t prepared to pay Spurs’ valuation.
Meanwhile, Spanish giant Real Madrid has had a 160 million euros ($260m) bid for French striker Kylian Mbappé rejected by his club Paris Saint-Germain.
The fates of Mbappé and Kane will reveal something about football’s big-money mania.
What did Kane do overnight?
The 28-year-old posted on Twitter that he would be staying at Spurs.
“I will be staying at Tottenham this summer and will be 100 per cent focused on helping the team achieve success.”
While Spurs fans will be pleased their talisman will remain at the club, concern may be justified by Kane’s reference to “this summer”. The winter transfer window looms as another threat in January.
Why is this such a big deal?
Alongside the Euros, Kane’s future has been the headline story to English football throughout the northern hemisphere summer.
Kane kicked things off in May when he revealed his desire to discuss his future at the club with chairman Daniel Levy.
Following reports he had a so-called gentleman’s agreement to leave when he wanted, Kane said he hoped to have “a good, honest conversation” with Levy. In a podcast with former Manchester United player Gary Neville around the same time, Kane said he didn’t want to have “any regrets” when he ended his career.
The 28-year-old has been with Spurs for more than a decade, scoring 166 Premier League goals for the club.
The saga spun into overdrive as Kane led England to the Euro 2020 final, and speculation linked him most heavily with a move to Premier League champion Manchester City. When Kane reportedly failed to show for Spurs training at the beginning of August, and City boss Pep Guardiola publicly revealed his club’s interest, a blockbuster transfer became even more likely.
But Tottenham refused to negotiate. The stalemate dragged on for three weeks, before Kane ended speculation today.
Why can’t he move?
Kane’s contract expires in 2024 and Levy has been committed to holding him to it.
Kane’s long-term agreement with Tottenham was negotiated by his brother Charlie in 2018 and raised eyebrows at the time for its length. While Spurs have had some success since then, making the Champions League final in 2019, it appears the success hasn’t matched Kane’s ambition.
Yet for Kane’s camp there’s little leverage in the agreement to force a move. While other stars have release clauses inserted in their deals, the Spurs striker does not.
Will this be a problem for Spurs?
Kane says he’s “100 per cent focused” on Tottenham’s success, but his stance has meant missing most of the first two rounds of the Premier League season. In that time Tottenham, under new manager Nuno Espírito Santo, has won both its Premier League matches.
Kane is clearly among Tottenham’s finest, a proven Premier League contributor at his peak. The striker may have quashed speculation for now, but Nuno’s ability to re-integrate him into the Spurs side, how happy his teammates are to have him, and the response of Tottenham fans will determine just how much success Kane can focus on.
Plus, there’s every chance that speculation will intensify as the winter transfer window approaches.
Does this mean football’s financial mania is at an end?
Kane was reportedly valued by Tottenham at 160 million pounds, or around $300m, a price that if paid would have made him the third most expensive footballer ever.
Manchester City may have been prepared to pay a large sum for Kane, but even after spending 100 million pounds on Kane’s England teammate Jack Grealish, they clearly had a limit.
Tottenham, with all the leverage of Kane’s long-term contract, weren’t budging on price. As Guardiola said earlier this month: “If Spurs don’t want to negotiate then there is nothing more to say.”
After Barcelona allowed icon Lionel Messi to leave this off-season due to financial difficulties, the era of football largesse threatened to come to a close.
But right on cue, the financial frivolity may have been reborn.
Overnight PSG’s sporting director Leonardo told French radio his club had rejected a 160 million euros bid for forward Kylian Mbappé from Real Madrid. Mbappé was bought in 2018 for more — around what Spurs reportedly wanted for Kane.
Unlike Kane’s long-term deal, Mbappé has a contract that ends in a year. That fact alone means the French dynamo is more likely than Kane to move.
Leonardo said PSG — who signed Messi from Barcelona — would “not hold Mbappé back” but considered Real Madrid’s bid “not sufficient”.
For what it’s worth, UEFA has signaled its intention to reform financial fair play rules later this year, and a “luxury tax” similar to that used in the NBA has been discussed.
This season, if clubs are willing to pay the asking price for Mbappé and Kane, fans will know for sure whether football’s money mania has actually slowed.