HARRY KANE’s face adorns a giant mural unveiled this week, on a wall adjoining the Tottenham Hotspur stadium, possibly in a last-ditch bid to persuade Kane to turn down overtures from Munich and Manchester.
Kane’s future will be the subject of discussion once again this summer, and the debate will only ne ended if he either agrees a new contract or makes it clear he wants to leave, which was the case two years ago. The suitors then were Manchester City rather than United now, and Kane was keen but Daniel Levy would not budge.
Now there is much more uncertainty around the club, who have no manager, sporting director or, apparently, direction. Tottenham are drifting in a downward spiral after a five year period in which they regularly challenged at the highest level in England and Europe. Before the start of this season they were tipped to push City for the Premier League title, and while their bitter rivals Arsenal took on that challenge and ultimately failed in a typically ‘Spursy’ way, Tottenham are set to finish in mid-table and out of Europe.
Brentford, who mounted a spirited comeback to beat them 3-1 on Saturday, could still qualify for the Europa Conference League at Tottenham’s expense, which illustrates two clubs travelling in opposite directions. Under Thomas Frank’s inspired leadership, Brentford are on the up, and this, their first win over Spurs since 1948, completed a unique set of victories over all the established Big Six clubs since they were promoted two years ago.
Spurs, by contrast, are in danger or returning to the wilderness years that their supporters believed to have ended when Mauricio Pochettino transformed the culture of the club when he arrived in 2014. All of that has been eroded by a succession of poor appointments by Levy, from Jose Mourinho to Antonio Conte as ill-fitting coaches, to sporting director Fabrizio Paratici, currently suspended from football for irregularities pre-dating his time at Tottenham.
It seems a seismic shift in thinking is needed at board level, and Kane knows it. When he was asked about his own future, he suggested it is inextricably linked to what Levy decides to do in the next few weeks.
“I’m focused on this season and trying to help the team as much as possible. That’s all I can do,” he said.
“There’s a big summer ahead and a lot that needs to change here to start being successful again. Ultimately my focus now is to enjoy this last week as much as possible and try to finish with a win next Sunday.”
He plans to have talks with Levy once the season finishes, after next Sunday’s game at Leeds. “I think there’s a conversation to be had anyway, in terms of some of the values of the club. We’ve had many conversations before like that, how we can improve, and that will be the case again.”Embed from Getty Images
Many supporters would like to see an end to the current ownership, and made it clear again on Saturday with chants, banners and balloons floating across the pitch with “Levy Out” messages. There are prospective buyers waiting in the wings, notably in the United States, and majority shareholder Joe Lewis is considered by insiders to be more willing to sell than Levy. But the club’s value has dropped significantly since this time last year, when Conte was at the helm, the team finished strongly to qualify for the Champions League again, and everything appeared to be on the rise.
Now without a manager, sporting director or European football, and a team heading downwards, it is even more unlikely Levy will want to sell. Kane understands the frustrations of fans, many of whom had left long before the players had to undergo a pre-planned ‘lap of appreciation’ around the mostly empty stadium.
“It’s hard. You feel responsible. We wanted to send them home happy. When you walk around the pitch with your families, your kids you want to enjoy the moment. But when you’ve lost, you can’t enjoy it as much and nor can the fans. We have to keep battling, keep working and try to send the away fans home happy on Sunday.”