Harry Kane’s Tottenham conundrum draws striking parallels with Gareth Bale’s final season before heading to Real Madrid… but he must think carefully about his next move, with the Welshman perfectly highlighting the risks and rewards of leaving the club
- Harry Kane will reportedly ask to leave Spurs if they fail to make the top-four
- Their chances took another hit with a damning 3-1 home defeat to Man United
- Team-mate Gareth Bale won four Champions League titles after leaving
- But he has also endured a difficult time on and on the pitch in more recent years
Harry Kane needs just a quick glance towards Gareth Bale to see a player who has won it all after leaving Tottenham for the European elite, but with the Welshman’s career turning sour in recent years, he also underlines the distinct risks that come with an exit.
Talk of a potential high-profile departure for Kane is nothing new; in fact, Tottenham fans are rather bored of it. But this time it feels different. The England captain has always maintained that he will stay with his boyhood team as long as they match his ambitions, something the seventh-placed club are simply not doing as things stand.
After insisting that he won’t make a decision on his future until after this summer’s European Championships, reports then broke that the 27-year-old will ask to leave the club should they fail to secure a place in next season’s Champions League.
Tottenham are certainly not out of the top-four race, but after two bitterly disappointing results in a 2-2 draw with Newcastle and a 3-1 defeat to Manchester United, their chances have taken a distinct hit.
While Bale has now returned to Tottenham in a rather up-and-down season-long loan, there are some striking parallels that can be drawn between his final campaign with Tottenham back in 2012/13 and the sublime season Kane is currently experiencing.
Gareth Bale signed for Real Madrid in a world record £85million transfer back in 2013
Indeed, he was significantly younger at just 24-years-old, but when Bale left for Real Madrid in an £85million then-world record transfer, it came after years of speculation, which had been momentarily halted the summer prior when the long-serving winger penned a new four-year deal.
Just days later, a previously managerless Tottenham announced the appointment of Andre Villas-Boas, a former Chelsea manager who was brought in to take the north London club to the next level.
Though he was sacked within 18 months, AVB’s Tottenham actually claimed a club-record 72 points in the Premier League in his first season, and Bale himself emerged as a genuinely world class talent under his stewardship.
He was named Premier League Player of the Season after scoring 21 goals in a spectacular campaign, but even with their in-form talisman, Tottenham ended up finishing a solitary point behind Arsenal and in fifth place, with Bale leaving for Madrid that summer.
Bale developed significantly under AVB, as Harry Kane has done with Jose Mourinho
The legendary Tottenham pair have been a pleasure to watch at times this season
Fast forward eight years, and under the guidance of former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho, Kane – who has three years remaining on his contract – is in the form of his life, but is also heavily linked with an exit with Tottenham looking likely to miss out on the top four.
While Kane may not explicitly be aware of these parallels himself, he will acknowledge that Bale went on to win four Champions League titles, a Spanish Cup, two Spanish Super Cups, three Uefa Super Cups and four Club World Cups with Madrid.
But on the other hand, despite recording 105 goals and 68 assists in 251 games for Los Blancos, including scoring winners in two Champions League finals and a Copa del Rey final, Bale has never been truly lauded by the Madrid fans or the Spanish media, with his final few campaigns somewhat of a nightmare.
Bale played a crucial role in winning four Champions League trophies while at Madrid
Bale’s relationship with manager Zinedine Zidane has since strained with his game-time cut
By 30-years-old, Bale, who is arguably one of the best and most successful British players of all time, was seconds away from completing a move to China in a desperate attempt to leave Madrid, only for the Spaniards to pull the plug at the last minute.
Simply put, Bale perfectly highlights the potential risks and rewards that face Kane ahead.
But what options does the England captain actually have? While he may want to leave, there are very few clubs that could actually afford him, particularly due to the financial impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, David Ornstein of The Athletic has reported that Daniel Levy will under no circumstances allow him to leave to another English club.
And though there are many similarities between Bale and Kane, where they differ is that the latter is now joint-eighth in the Premier League all-time top scorer charts, a mere 25 behind Andy Cole in third, and 98 behind Alan Shearer at the top – a target that is certainly attainable for the 27-year-old striker.
Kane is heavily linked with a Spurs exit with the north London club struggling to make top-four
So where would Kane go? Neither Barcelona or Real Madrid have the finances at this moment in time. And though a reunion with Mauricio Pochettino at Paris Saint-Germain could seem tempting, would he actually want to leave the Premier League for Ligue 1?
Additionally, even if Levy permitted a sale to another English club, perhaps the likes of Chelsea or United would prioritise an Erling Haaland or a Kylian Mbappe, particularly with Kane’s age and history of ankle injuries.
With Sergio Aguero set to depart at the end of the season, the only club that really makes sense for Kane is Manchester City, who last week announced a net loss of £126 million for the 2019-2020 season.
And should a move to the champions-elect prove impossible, while a transfer abroad would be difficult and would destroy any chances of breaking Shearer’s record, perhaps his best move is to hold tight for now.
For one thing is certain: should he stay, Kane will go down in history as a Premier League and Tottenham legend forevermore. And with fans and thus finances set to slowly return, his currently limited options may drastically broaden by this time next year.
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