All good things come to an end. “He’s one of our own” is about to become “er ist einer von uns”, as Harry Kane stands on the verge of completing a transfer to Bayern Munich. Kane has been granted permission to fly to Germany to complete a medical and is now expected to complete a move to the German giants for a fee in the region of 100 million euros.
End of an Era for Spurs
The significance of this transfer should not be underestimated. The England captain leaving the Premier League, in a summer where the threat of Middle Eastern money has challenged the Premier League’s financial supremacy. Tottenham’s figurehead leaving the club on the verge of the Premier League season. Somewhere in the North-east of England, Alan Shearer will be pouring a glass of premium German Lager, toasting Kane’s exit. Leaving now will secures Shearer’s all-time Premier League goalscoring record.
For Spurs, the move represents the true end of an era which had both dizzying highs and a series of low points. In the time since Harry Kane’s debut, Tottenham have reached a Champions League final under Mauricio Pochettino. They have moved into a spectacular new stadium, demolishing their spiritual home at White Hart Lane.
Harry Kane is the club’s leading goal scorer of all time, surpassing the record set by Jimmy Greaves. He has come to represent a link between Tottenham’s past and future. Since his debut under Tim Sherwood in 2014, Kane has seen 8 managers come and go, before the appointment of Ange Postocoglou this summer.
Despite coming close to glory, Kane has never been able to secure the silverware all great players crave. Of the eleven players who started the Champions League final in 2019, only Kane, Heung-Min Son and Hugo Lloris remain at the club. Then manager Pochettino is now manager of London rivals Chelsea.
Incoming Tottenham manager Ange Postecoglou has been tasked with rebuilding a side which finished 8th last season. It seems that he will have to do so without his captain and leading goal scorer, Kane. Meanwhile, the club owner Joe Lewis faces potential insider trading charges in the USA, casting a further shadow over the club’s preparations for the season. Matching last season’s 8th place finish would be an achievement for Postecoglou but isn’t enough to match the ambitions of a player like Kane.
Leap into the Unknown
For Kane, the move represents a leap into the unknown, at a point in his career when his next move could be the most important in his career. He is now 30 years old and has just one year left on his Tottenham contract. The next contract he signs may be the last big money contract he is able to secure at the peak of his powers.
He could have stayed at Spurs. He could have seen out the last year of his contract and left as a free agent next summer. Clubs such as Manchester City, Manchester United and Real Madrid registered an interest. All were put off by Tottenham’s fee demands. Sport is fickle, and staying put risks a downturn in form and the risk of a bad injury, which could reduce his value when that time arrives.
Kane is taking the opportunity to move to one of Europe’s powerhouses while the offer is there. His move to Bayern all but guarantees him trophies, given their dominance over the German Bundesliga, and Champions League football. Kane’s move will not necessarily be judged on his success domestically.
If he can fire Bayern Munich to a Champions League title, his legacy as one of the greatest players of his generation will be secured. All-time leading Spurs goal scorer, England’s all-time leading goal scorer and Champions League winner has a nice ring to it.
Death of the One Club Man
The move also represents another nail in the coffin of the “one club man”. This is the era of player power. Contracts are always negotiable and there is always a better offer on the table. It is reported that Bayern Munich will double Kane’s wages, another reason why this is an offer Kane can’t refuse. The forces of globalisation show no signs of stopping in football, which is why Shearer’s Premier League goal scoring record may well stand the test of time.
Realistically, for it to be beaten, a player would need to score 25 goals a season for 10 years in the Premier League. Kane is the closest to doing this, but even he has been tempted by a significant offer to leave the Premier League. Despite the financial power of the Premier League, star players are still tempted by moves to the European giants.
Perhaps Erling Haaland will be the exception that proves the rule, if he continues to score at his current rate. But it is difficult to see a player being successful over a long enough period to reach Shearer’s mark. The inevitable temptation of a move abroad may prove too much. That record will stand as a relic of another era for years to come.
Move Suits All Parties
When all is said and done, this is a move which suits all parties. For Bayern Munich, they get a replacement for Robert Lewandowski, whose exit left the team short on goals last season in the closest title race in years. For Kane, he gets a chance to guarantee Champions League football and win the silverware he has craved throughout his career.
And for Tottenham… well… they don’t lose Kane for free next summer, which was a real risk. Postecoglou gets the chance to rebuild a team in his own image. To make his mark where others have failed before him. If he fails, Spurs fans may look back on this move as the one that scuppered him before he started.