Tottenham: First six fixtures of 2021/22 Premier League season
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Speculation over Harry Kane’s future has been one of the few constants in Tottenham Hotspur’s topsy-turvy past few months and there are no indications that it will end any time soon. Even now, with the stability provided by Nuno Espirito Santo’s appointment as manager and Fabio Paratici as the managing director of football, there remains plenty of uncertainty surrounding Kane.
Looked at from one way, it appears to be a very simple situation: Kane wants to leave Spurs and the club has no interest in selling him.
Now he has finally secured a manager, Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy can focus his attention on Spurs’ efforts in the summer transfer window.
The most important factor in that picture is Kane. His departure would be a huge loss, but would provide a welcome cash injection which could be reinvested; if he stays Spurs can continue to build their side around him.
A lot of work and convincing needs to happen for that second scenario to play out. And after the turbulent, underwhelming and unsuccessful reign of Jose Mourinho, that burden largely falls on Nuno.
Kane’s mind is made up, so what can Tottenham’s new manager do to change it? Express Sport assesses what the former Wolves manager has to do.
JUST IN: Kane backed to lead England to Euros glory before summer transfer
First and foremost, Kane’s unhappiness with Spurs stems from their chronic underperformance over the past few years.
Yes, they reached the Champions League final under Mauricio Pochettino in 2019, but they haven’t won a single trophy since winning the League Cup in February 2008.
Kane was 14 years old then. He is now 27 and desperate to end his career with something to show for it.
Nuno is starting from a difficult position. He was clearly not Levy’s first choice and arrived 72 days after Mourinho’s sacking on April 19.
The Portuguese manager also only has one trophy to his name as a manager: the 2017/18 Championship title. He won nothing in brief spells with Valencia and Porto.
Nuno will need to convince Kane that under his management they can challenge for top honours, like the Premier League, in the coming seasons.
Spurs played a miserable brand of football under Mourinho at times and Levy’s brief for his successor showed he was prioritising a manager who can bring back a more positive approach.
Back on May 19, in the aftermath of the Super League fiasco, Levy said he was hoping to restore the club’s DNA and wrote that “free-flowing, attacking and entertaining” football was the basis for his managerial search.
To be blunt, Nuno does not have a great track record there either. The 47-year-old did a fantastic job at Wolves, establishing them as a solid Premier League side – but he did so via a pragmatic, organised and dogged approach.
Mourinho’s counter-attacking method, which relied on placing all the responsibilities on the shoulders of Kane and Son Heung-min, is unlikely to cut it.
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Dampen Man City dream
Manchester City is reportedly Kane’s favoured destination and it’s easy to see why.
Pep Guardiola’s side are in desperate need of a world-class centre-forward following Sergio Aguero’s departure and have already had a £100million bid turned down for Kane.
If he were to move to the Etihad Stadium, Kane would be the main man at a side which won the Premier League at a canter and has made winning the Carabao Cup a habit in recent seasons.
Levy has made it clear he does not want to sell and especially does not want to do business with City, but Nuno should also move to dampen any hopes of such a deal as soon as Euro 2020 is over.
Kane’s mind is on England at the moment, but once the tournament is over the noise is bound to ramp up again.
Ambition in the transfer window
Spurs need to use the transfer window to close the considerable gap between them and the likes of Man City.
Now they have a manager and a director of football in place they should be busting a gut to secure some high-profile signings.
With Gareth Bale set to return to Real Madrid for the final year of his contract after his loan spell with Tottenham expired, the need for attacking reinforcements is obvious.
If Serge Aurier is leaving then a right-back is needed, while central defence is another clear area of weakness, especially if Toby Alderweireld moves on.
A statement signing – preferably in the next few weeks – could help convince Kane that Spurs mean business this summer and ease the concerns over the way the managerial pursuit was handled.
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