Kane to Man Utd: Ten Hag needs January striker stopgap before perfect summer match

Kane Tottenham Credit: Alamy
Kane Tottenham Credit: Alamy

Manchester United can sign any old striker in January, but should wait and sign the old striker they need in the summer.

Harry Kane garnered very little sympathy as he pushed for his transfer to Manchester City in the summer of 2021. Having agreed to a six-year contract three years previously, with no release clause, Kane was stuck, and any attempt from brother Charlie to cast Daniel Levy as the villain – as simple a task as any in football – led instead to the pair of Kanes being billed as silly little boys without a leg to stand on. A ‘gentleman’s agreement’? Jesus wept.

Things are now arguably more bleak for Kane at Spurs than they were 18 months ago.

Despite having a ‘winner’ in Antonio Conte as manager, Tottenham still look like they have no hope of winning anything. Conte will almost certainly leave in the summer, if not before, at which point another – almost certainly less qualified – manager will arrive, not be given sufficient money, and not win anything.

It’s now as clear as it’s ever been that the Spurs owners don’t give a sh*t about trophies. They will spend what they deem enough to keep Spurs in the Champions League, but no more. Winning trophies isn’t a money-spinner, so what’s the point?

New ownership at Tottenham is Kane’s only hope, and that’s not going to happen. Neither, of course, is a move to Manchester City, who wisely waited for Erling Haaland. But Kane and Manchester United – having long been linked through a combination of ease and inertia –might now be the perfect match.

United are a club on an upward curve, finally with a manager at the helm worth his salt, with new (presumably better) owners soon to take charge. And with a guaranteed source of goals now the greatest transfer requirement for Erik ten Hag, Kane to Old Trafford looks as attractive a proposition for both parties as it’s ever been.

Some Manchester United fans might look at Kane, and more specifically his age at 29, and see Victor Osimhen (24) or Dusan Vlahovic (22) as more attractive options. But neither of those players can match Kane’s scoring record out of the Premier League, let alone in it, where strikers of far greater repute have arrived and come unstuck.

A striker who could stay at United for a decade and score consistently would obviously be the one to go for, but does that striker exist? There really aren’t many sure-fire goalscorers around. And what Kane lacks in longevity he more than makes up for in certainty. Kane will score 20+ goals a season. He always does.

Conte admitted after the defeat to Aston Villa that Spurs “don’t have many creative players”, yet Kane has 13 goals in 17 Premier League games this season. Manchester United, by comparison, have a midfield three of Bruno Fernandes, Casemiro and Kane’s old pal Christian Eriksen, all of whom can deliver the ball on to a dinner plate, as well as a raft of talented wingers to provide crosses from the wide areas. Kane would score a bundle in that team.

It must be frustrating to be doing your job just about as well as anyone’s done it in the last decade and have nothing shiny to show for it. And though sympathy was lacking the last time Kane pushed for the Spurs exit, due in a large part to his brother’s inadequacy, there will likely be less of a groundswell against the striker should he attempt another Tottenham coup. Someone that good at scoring goals deserves to win something, don’t they?

Levy won’t see it that way, but will be well aware of how the money offered for Kane will dwindle as the transfer windows come and go. A January exit is unlikely, given Spurs will then need a replacement, but a summer move may well suit everyone – that is if Manchester United don’t blow their load too early.

Ten Hag has said he needs a striker now, but a six-month loan is the smart play before landing Kane in the summer ahead of a genuine title challenge.

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