As Wolves tried hopelessly to beat Tottenham on Sunday, there was a moment that changed everything in the game and the narrative surrounding the away side. Molineux stadium suddenly lit up, the 3000 odd away fans suddenly had a voice of their own and you could see the reason why.
Harry Kane was about to walk on.
Now normally, that wouldn’t be news-worthy stuff and normally that wouldn’t have encouraged home and away fans alike to serenade him but this hasn’t been a normal time in the league for Tottenham, Kane or anyone else. The last eighteen months, as we all know, have been tough and especially so for football clubs. Especially clubs that have mismanaged their finances and clubs that aren’t that rich, to begin with, have been hit hard.
Very very hard and while you feel for the latter, the former has problems of their own but arguably the biggest miss at a football game in the post-pandemic world has been the lack of fans. Games have felt cleaner and more easier to watch but the lack of a genuine atmosphere beyond the robotic songs, cheers and whistles has hurt the game we all love but that all changed. The start of the 2021/ 22 season meant that everything changed for everyone as fans were welcomed back in hordes.
What we want and what other clubs want is not always possible to achieve. We will do whatever is right for the club."
It has made all the difference to both home and away teams with the quality of football even stepping up a notch as Burnley caused Liverpool problems once again. This brings it all back to the earlier point because as normal seasons go, this was the furthest thing from normal. Because if everything was normal, fine and dandy, no issues whatsoever, then Harry Kane would have been starting his third consecutive game for Tottenham.
That does include the 1-0 loss to Pacos Ferreira in the Europa Conference League qualifiers but Kane was nowhere to be seen. Why? That’s the story that has had the world spinning over the last month or so with football divided into two separate but equally whole parts. Those who want Kane to leave and those who want Kane to stay with a tiny third part consisting of those who want Kane to leave but also want Manchester City burnt at the stake for spending 260 plus million on transfer fees.
But that’s the story, Harry Kane reportedly wants to leave the club, Manchester City are clamouring for him, Daniel Levy has taken a stance and refused to budge with absurd amounts of money in play. And yet with Chelsea signing Romelu Lukaku, arguably the best striker in the world below the age of 30 alongside Kane, and Manchester United making sensible moves, this is Manchester City’s idea of sensible.
They may have won a league title and reached their very first Champions League final without a bonafide center-forward – or a fully fit one that they didn’t shuffle over to the wing – but they also lost said final to Chelsea – who were also playing with a false nine having shuttled their forward over to the flanks. So instead, City go nuts and approach the one club for the one player who would, arguably, be the perfect striker for them.
Which makes it even more impressive that somehow, Daniel Levy has managed to stand his ground and refuse to let Kane budge from his dressing room spot. He has been helped by the six-year contract the club handed their superstar in 2018 but even then, with a £160 odd million at play and the chance to rebuild a team, it’s the price everyone expected.
But somehow, Levy and Tottenham are holding out. Why? We on the outskirts of it all may have no idea at all but the Spurs chairman’s fabled negotiating style is renowned all over the world. This is the man who wouldn’t just sell an igloo to an eskimo but do it at a 100% markup after negotiating with said Eskimo from the comforts of his own home while the Eskimo is shivering out in the cold and wondering why he wanted to buy an igloo from the chairman of a football club in the first place.
But that’s what he needs to be at a club that’s trying ever so hard to break into and be a part of Europe’s elite. Tottenham reached ever so close with Mauricio Pochettino but have been dropping off the pace at an absurd rate even if they’ve managed to keep up thanks to…you guessed it, Harry Kane. And that negotiating style has worked wonders in the past, just ask Real Madrid, Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid and Manchester United.
A combined £253 million for five players with negotiations sucking the life out of everyone involved as Levy, presumably, screamed my precious while bear-hugging every player before letting them go. He even managed to get £16 odd million for Roberto Soldado, selling him back to Valencia, even if it was at a loss of £14 million. That alone is impressive but out of all the players sold only Gareth Bale comes close to what Kane offers and does for Tottenham, and even then he doesn’t quite make it there.
The difference is Harry Kane could very well be convinced to stay whereas Bale couldn’t because Bale wanted to leave and achieve his grander goals. And with Real Madrid offering an absurd sum of money, for that era, Levy ensured that he sucked the last few pennies out as well, poured in a few lucrative add-ons and made a superb £101 million pie. The only problem with that was the way Tottenham spent that money, so very very very very badly.
Historically bad, that's how bad as the summer of 2013/14 will be known as in the echelons of football's history. Tour guides will take fans, club officials, budding directors of football and a catalogue of others on the journey through wasted spends and terrible transfer windows, with the summer of 2013/14 right up there with the worst. The aforementioned Roberto Soldado was a part of that very very very very badly spent spree and it’s a story as old as time its self.
Person, team or football club gains a lot of money, decides to go nuts and spend it all before realising, eight years down the line, what a horrendous mistake that all was. But the sale of a superstar doesn’t have to be all negative and that’s the story that Daniel Levy, and the newly appointed Fabio Paratici needs to spin here. Yet, they can only do that if the money is spent wisely which is a dicey bet at best even with Tottenham’s history to back them up.
The Wolves fans sing: "Harry Kane, he wants to f*** off". Spurs supporters reply that he's one of their own. Once he's on, Wolves fans chant "There's only one greedy b*****d" and "He'll be a Manc in the morning". The Spurs fans retort: "Harry Kane, he's worth more than Wolves."— Alasdair Gold (@AlasdairGold) August 22, 2021
They burnt through the Bale money, they signed Luka Modric, David Bentley and Roman Pavlyuchenko from the Robbie Keane and Berbatov dough although Spurs spent both the Modric and the Kyle Walker fees on players still doing good for them. But that’s the easy way out and not the reason why Spurs actually have someone like Daniel Levy at the club. No, that’s when they need him to convince people to stay because while his fabled negotiating style is what helps keep Tottenham stable, Levy now needs to showcase the other bit.
Because as stances go, Kane going awol, or rather reporting late for pre-season training, was a big problem and one that probably hardened Levy’s resolve of not selling his best gem. So why not go the other way and convince him to spend the rest of his career at Tottenham?
Because this is Harry Kane.
England’s captain, the man touted to break Premier League lord Alan Shearer’s goal record and usher in a new era for Tottenham and it changes absolutely everything. It’s something that makes or breaks legacies, both Daniel Levy’s and Kane’s. Especially if they win a trophy and it doesn’t matter which one, any trophy even the Carabao Cup changes things. Because its more than anyone else has managed over the last two decades for Tottenham and Levy made it all happen, which is an achievement on its own.
But for Kane, it becomes even bigger and that’s what Levy needs to convince him off, and the kicker is that he already knows that. He doesn’t need me, you, or that crowd screaming at him and telling him that because this is Harry Kane. That man who had Molineux in a chant off as he walked onto the field with two sets of fans absolutely screaming their lungs off on their first day back after eighteen long months out in the cold.
Why? We all know why.