England Transfers

Spurs mull over potential replacements for Kane as he eyes the exit door

Spurs fan’s biggest nightmare is likely about to come true. Club legend Harry Kane, after a 17 year association with the London club, has stated he wants to leave. It’s the hunt for trophies that has made the English skipper so desperate to find a new club. Tottenham, who are without a trophy since 2008, reached the UCL final in 2019 but since then have only drifted away from the top level. Kane is regarded as one of the best strikers in the world and big clubs all over Europe would love to have him in their team. However, it won’t be that simple. Kane signed a 6-year contract with Spurs in 2018, tying him up with the club till 2024. This gives Spurs chairman, Daniel Levy an upper hand in the negotiations. Levy would fight hard to keep hold of his best player and the minimum £120 million price tag would be hard to meet for the buyers in a pandemic hit transfer market. But a couple of big money signings and the spending domino could start to fall. Kane will need to be determined to force his way out of the club and if he does, what’s does that mean for Spurs?

Replacing Kane and his goals, if possible, would be stressful for the decision makers at Spurs. The dependency on him has only increased this season as he is not only the top goal scorer but also the highest assist maker for Spurs as well as in the league, recording 23 goals and 14 assists. His technical ability, finishing skills, and vision makes him a complete player who can win matches on his own. That makes you think, anyone except a few generational talents would be a downgrade from one of the most lethal strikers. Spurs, a club in managerial limbo and downward trajectory doesn’t seem like an attractive proposition to the talents of Mbappe or Haaland. So, Spurs would need more than one astute attacking signing to replace Kane’s numbers and receipts from his sale would allow that.

Manchester United and Manchester City are among the front runners for Kane’s signature. A deal with one of those clubs could lead to Anthony Martial or Gabriel Jesus heading to Spurs. Martial would bring pace with decent finishing ability. But the French international’s movement is not great, he doesn’t get involved in build-ups and can disappear in games. On the other side, Jesus’s link-up play is highly underrated and the Brazilian could lead the front line by pressing with great intensity. However, there are doubts about his finishing skills, as he often misses good scoring opportunities. Both Jesus and Martial are yet to hit the 20 goal mark in an EPL season.

Would Manchester City use Gabriel Jesus as part of a player plus money deal for Kane?

Other striking options from within the league are Southampton’s Danny Ings and Leeds United’s Patrick Bamford. Ings only has 12 months left on his contract and given his recent goalscoring exploits could be looking to sign for a big English club. Ings boasts good technical skills and link-up play as well as being potent in front of goal and can put up impressive numbers like he did in the 19/20 season (22 goals in 38 league appearances). However, his injury record is a worry and often hinders him from maintaining his form. Given that Ings could be signed for a relatively low fee, it would be a good coup for Spurs if they sign him as one of the pillars to Kane’s replacement package and not the direct replacement. Patrick Bamford just completed another strong season for Leeds, registering 17 goals and 7 assists. Bamford’s movement and build-up play is impressive and he could fit well in the Spurs team. But there might be a disparity between his market value and his value for Leeds. And there is also the question that most of Bielsa’s players face – how would he fair in a non-Bielsa organized side?

Outside England, there have been links with Andre Silva and Memphis Depay. The Portuguese striker had an incredible season for Frankfurt, on loan from Milan. Silva scored 28 goals and assisted 5 from 32 games for Eintracht Frankfurt this season. He is lethal inside the box and brilliant with headers but he doesn’t get much involved in the build-up play. The 25 year old’s release clause of £26 million could be activated in the summer with several top clubs competing for his signature but Spurs can weigh up their chances by offering him a starting position.

Silva has a proven goalscoring record with 92 career goals in 235 appearances but could he fill Kane’s boots?

Depay had a prolific season for Lyon, scoring 20 and assisting 12 goals from 37 appearances in Ligue 1. The Dutch international is definite to leave this summer and is heavily linked with Barcelona but that could change with Barca’s decision about Koeman’s future still pending. His pace and movement are his best attributes and can take on different roles in the front-line. His transfer move would cost around £50 million but there may be some doubts about taking a gamble on Depay after his failure to ignite when at Manchester United. The Dutchman only scored twice in 39 appearances for the Red Devils over two ill fated seasons. Has he shown enough growth as a player and in his game at Lyon to warrant a sizable investment?

Coping with the departure of your best player is never easy, especially when he is also the highest goal scorer. With no manager in charge, who is going to envision the signings on the pitch? Can Spurs be efficient in the transfer market and have they learned from making a series of underwhelming signings from Bale’s sale money? Of the seven players signed with that money, only one (Lamela) remains and arguably only a couple more could be deemed a success. There is also a question of whether Kane’s desperation to leave give a sense to other players outside of the club that Spurs is not the place to be? These are tough questions that Levy & Co. may have to work around.

Some help can also come from within the existing squad. There would be room for Son to step up and finally reach the 20 goals a season mark. The likes of Ndombele and Lo Celso can increase goal contributions from midfield. Or there is the possibility of retaining Bale for one more season, this time in a more central role. At the same time, with one of their leaders leaving, the team’s belief and confidence could be seriously hampered. Using some of Kane’s transfer to bring in a new leader might be worth considering as well. All in all this could be the most important transfer window in Spurs modern history. If Kane is sold early on in the window, there is potential to bring in new players and rejuvenate a squad that has failed to get over the line a number of times. But a late departure or the wrong players being brought in could also spurn the possibility that Kane’s departure will result in Spurs downfall. Oh to be Daniel Levy right now.

Post by Achyut Dixit, Contributor to BOTN. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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