Tottenham are trying to make sure they are seen as the good guys, while Harry Kane had no choice but to stop doing the job they pay him for.
Oh you’re so naive, yet so…
Mediawatch does wonder what Martin Samuel’s take would be if this wasn’t the England captain failing to report for pre-season duties on consecutive days, but it is Harry Kane and so he had ‘no option but to disrupt‘ stop doing his job for a bit.
The Daily Mail columnist believes Kane was ‘backed into a corner’ and realised ‘the need to escalate the matter of his future’. It is Tottenham, a team that has not received what it deems to be an acceptable offer for by far its best player, the Premier League’s top goalscorer and assist creator, who deserve the blame.
‘It is the modern way. The clubs want the money but they don’t want the blame, so they manipulate the narrative until absolved. After the no-show, almost inevitably, comes the transfer request.’
And what have Tottenham done here to ‘manipulate the narrative’? Turned down £100m from a direct rival for a player they could not hope to adequately replace? Expected said player, whose contract with them runs for another three years, to attend pre-season checks and training? What ‘blame’ are they trying to avoid, precisely?
Samuel goes on to suggest Kane ‘won’t feel comfortable making trouble less than two weeks before the start of the season. He is exasperated,’ adding that his desire to sort out his future before the Euros started was ‘sweetly naive’.
It is easy to see both sides of the argument here: Kane wants to leave and thinks he has an agreement with the chairman to do so; Tottenham do not wish to sell and have no obligation to do so. Neither party is the victim or the agitator here. Painting either as any sort of ‘exasperated’ or ‘sweetly naive’ hostage being forced to act is bizarre.
It is made all the weirder by Samuel mocking Tottenham’s stance. He is insistent they are simply trying to manoeuvre a situation that makes them look good by selling him, rather than them simply trying not to sell him in the first place.
‘What could poor Tottenham do? Kane was playing up, he was desperate to go to Manchester City. We’re the victims here, you know.’
Lovely. So to sum up, Kane has been ‘backed into a corner’ because the club with whom he signed a six-year contract in 2018 expects those official, written, legal terms to be honoured. But Tottenham actually really want to let him go and are just trying to ‘manipulate the narrative’ so they can claim they were ‘the victims’ all along when he goes.
Ever thought they just don’t want to and don’t have to sell, especially not to a club that isn’t coming close to the reported valuation?
But contracts apparently mean nothing in football, which is why players are notoriously free to up and leave whenever they want and clubs are powerless to stop them.
‘Kane has received stick from some quarters for failing to ‘respect his contract’ and return to pre-season training yesterday – but such talk is out-dated, idealistic guff,’ writes Dave Kidd in the out-dated, guffy Sun.
‘The striker may have three years remaining on his current deal but nobody in modern football believes contracts are anything other than bargaining tools – and nobody truly believes that loyalty exists from player to club, nor vice versa.’
That last point is spot on. Loyalty is not a worthwhile concept here and that works both ways. Kane owes Tottenham as much as they owe him here: nothing.
But if ‘nobody in modern football believes contracts are anything other than bargaining tools,’ why is Kane not training with Manchester City right now?
Mediawatch wishes him and his agent the absolute best of luck in taking this to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and arguing that he ‘may have three years remaining on his current deal but nobody in modern football believes contracts are anything other than bargaining tools’. That will go well.
In the same article, Kidd describes Kane as ‘a fiercely ambitious man, with elements of the selfishness every great striker needs’.
He adds that: ‘The idea that he would allow his peak years to drift past at a club which is sliding into mid-table irrelevance was always a fanciful one.’
Even more ‘fanciful’ is the idea that he is in a position to decide what his future will ‘allow’ or not. Kane will have a say but that call is ultimately Tottenham’s thanks to the three remaining years left on that apparently meaningless ‘bargaining tool’ he signed in 2018.
And Kidd completes the hat-trick with this:
‘After eight years as a first-teamer, Kane has served his time and deserves a smooth exit, provided City pay the going rate for a world-class striker with diminishing resale value – which probably shouldn’t be far north of £100million.’
If Kane ‘deserves a smooth exit’ then he really shouldn’t have signed a contract that prevents it. Tottenham have no obligation to roll out the red carpet and let their best player leave unless, as you say, someone pays ‘the going rate’.
And you can pretend his ‘diminishing resale value’ means a jot to Tottenham right now all you want, but your own newspaper has said that the fee is £160m. And that truly is not ‘far north of £100million’.
Neves say Neves
As tempting as it is to make this a single-edition Kane special, this headline work from the Daily Mirror website is exceptional and deserves applauding:
‘Ruben Neves admits he’s “getting ideas” as he drops hint amid Man Utd transfer interest’
That seems pretty unequivocal. He has had his head turned. The move is on.
“We are getting the ideas of the new coach and I think we are doing well. I had a great time with family and now I’m completely focused here, to be fit for the start of the Premier League.”