Harry Kane has thrown down the gauntlet to Daniel Levy to make good on an understanding that he could leave Tottenham Hotspur if the club failed to win a trophy or finished outside the top four last season.
It can be revealed by Telegraph Sport that just two weeks out from the end of the transfer window Kane feels that
- Levy has not honoured a specific meeting at the end of the 2019/20 season where Kane was promised he could leave if Spurs underachieved the next season
- Kane felt Levy signed off on his extra week of holiday only for a club miscommunication leading to fans turning against him
- It is believed City have already made a £125m bid, but Levy is refusing to sell and is no longer accepting calls
Sources close to the England captain have told Telegraph Sport that a frustrated Kane believes the Tottenham chairman has reneged on the promise or so-called ‘gentleman’s agreement’ he made in a meeting before the start of last season.
The striker believes he should be allowed to join Manchester City, wants to leave on good terms with his relationship with the fans being extremely important to him and has reiterated all of this in subsequent meetings with Levy. Kane feels that the board has failed to match his ambition and should negotiate.
It is also understood that City’s bid for Kane already amounts to £125million in total – not the £100million that has been previously reported – but that Levy has become so entrenched that he is now refusing to even discuss what would be a British record transfer. Fans can’t wait for the next match to be able to invest money through live betting sites.
Spurs have insisted Kane is not for sale but the two clubs are understood to have been in dialogue for over a year about the move, with Kane aware of what was happening, but much to City’s frustration there are currently no talks and no indication Levy will change his mind.
City sources have indicated the club is expected to make “one final push” to sign Kane before the transfer window closes on August 31. Sources also say that Kane’s intention is not to make one last effort to go but rather to want the full situation to be explained out of respect for the fans.
Despite being named in the original 25-man squad Kane is not expected to travel to Portugal for Spurs’ Europa Conference League play-off against Pacos de Ferreira but that is more to do with his fitness after returning late for training – and the player is also frustrated at how that episode has been portrayed believing he had been given an extended holiday by the club who should have clarified that publicly.
If Kane does not secure his move to City he will obviously make himself available for selection, as he already has done, remain professional and continue to perform for Spurs as best he can, irrespective of the situation with the chairman.
But he also wants the club’s fans to understand why he feels the time has come to finally leave in search of silverware and certainly not for more money. Kane has been consistent in interviews over the past couple of years as to how much it means to him to win trophies at this stage of his career.
Kane’s frustration largely appears to hinge on a meeting last year. The 28-year-old accepts that he has three years left on his contract but, according to sources close to him, he was told by Levy that Spurs would go all out to win a trophy and achieve a Champions League spot.
Kane’s understanding from the meeting was that if that did not happen – Spurs subsequently finished seventh in the Premier League in a disappointing campaign and lost the League Cup final – he would be allowed to leave. Kane finished the season with his third Golden Boot as the Premier League’s top-scorer and was also the leading assist-maker.
It is why Kane also then felt empowered to conduct a Sky Sports interview with former England coach Gary Neville in which, in a measured discussion, he effectively confirmed he would like to leave Spurs and wanted a “good, honest conversation with the chairman” about his future and what he could be sold for. Kane maintains that a sale, for what would beat the £100 million that City paid for Jack Grealish, would be good for Spurs as well as for him.
It was also made clear that Kane wanted his future sorted out before leading England at the European Championship and, given his belief there was a gentleman’s agreement, he fully expected that to happen.
The greatest disappointment for Kane is that he hoped if a deal could be struck then he would be able leave Spurs with the blessing of the club and the fans but that has clearly not yet happened.
Kane was left out of Sunday’s opening league match – ironically at home to City – and was not at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium after being told he did not need to be with the squad. He watched the game on television and heard the fans chanting “Are you watching Harry Kane?” towards the end of the unexpected victory.
According to sources Kane fully accepts the reaction but also hopes that the fans will understand his position particularly after all the successful years of service he has given to the club, where he came through the academy, and the way he has conducted himself. Wanting to leave is not a slight to the supporters or club but a sign of his ambition.
It partly explains Kane’s statement on his Instagram account when he felt his “professionalism” was being questioned and he was letting the fans down when he apparently returned to training a week late and then had to undergo a period of self-isolation. “While I won’t go into the specifics of the situation, I want to clarify that I would never, and have never, refused to train. I will be returning to the club tomorrow, as planned”, he wrote on August 6.
Kane believes he was offered an extended break by Levy but that there was a breakdown in communication and this was not relayed by the club’s football department or head coach Nuno Espirito Santo. Kane had already booked a week’s break in Florida and was on his way from the Bahamas when it transpired he was expected back sooner with the player eventually arranging to return via Paris to get back as best he could.
According to sources, Kane felt he was given contradictory instructions and hoped the club would clarify the mix-up and sources suggest he has been left disappointed by the failure to do so which has fuelled the anger of some fans who believe he has let them down.
Kane does not intend to submit a transfer request, even in a late attempt to try to force the move, because it is clear what his position is and what he wants to happen and he has even already said this publicly.
Neither will he try toforce the move and will fully accept the situation if he has to stay and continue his career at Spurs even if he still harbours hopes of leaving for City in the next few days if Levy is willing to re-open talks.