One of the hottest properties around English football at the moment is the man with the Midas touch, Harry Kane. He bewitched the English footballing public last season, bursting onto the scene to lead the line for Tottenham and earn himself an England call up.
Yet he was more than simply a good player who managed to establish himself for his club: he became the first Spurs player since Gary Lineker to score over 30 goals in one season for the White Hart Lane club, and he scored just 79 seconds into his England debut at Wembley. Clearly he’s something special.
All of this, naturally, makes him a reported target for Manchester United this summer. Now that Kane is an established Premier League player and has England caps under his belt, Manchester United should have a serious look at whether he can improve their own first team. We think he can, and that they should go all-out to sign him before the summer ends – and here are five reasons why:
I’d be very surprised if Kane can match last season’s form, but you don’t have to score over 30 goals to have a good season. If Kane can chip in with 15 league goals with whichever team he plays for this season it’ll be a good return. And I believe he can do that.
That’s on the basis that he didn’t just break through last season under Mauricio Pochettino. He broke through the season before that under Tim Sherwood. Kane started ahead of Adebayor and Soldado at the back end of that season, scoring in three games in a row in April. That’s not the mark of a man who simply had a lucky season last time around.
He also started brightly against, ironically, Manchester United on Saturday, playing Christian Eriksen in on goal with a sumptuous pass.
And that brings us neatly to our second reason United should go all out for Kane this summer. He’s not just about goals, but his all-round play is very good as well. He’s a striker who is very capable with the ball at his feet. For a man who has just turned 22 last month, that’s impressive. Most strikers that age are rough diamonds, but Kane’s first touch, his vision and his movement compliment his finishing ability so well, and add that to his killer instinct, and he’ll fit right into Louis Van Gaal’s team. In fact, he’ll fit into anyone’s team.
I’m not suggesting that United sign him simply out of spite. But I see no reason why Van Gaal shouldn’t play Kane if he were to sign him. Obviously if Kane won’t play, he shouldn’t sign for United, and United shouldn’t waste lots of money on a striker and ruin the youngster’s career by keeping him on the bench.
But there is something to be said for it. Teams like Spurs, Liverpool and even Everton and Southampton will fancy a crack at fourth place this season, and if United have title ambitions they’ll need to stop those teams from overtaking them as well as challenging Chelsea. Taking Kane – or Lloris if De Gea leaves – off Spurs would weaken a rival as well as strengthen their own team. A no brainer. And even if Louis Van Gaal is only going to stay another year or two, Kane is going to be a top English striker for years to come, so he’s an investment that any future manager can make use of too.
Manchester United are a club who traditionally pride themselves on just this sort of young, homegrown talent. Kane may not be a United youth product, but he’s a player who knows English football well enough to respect the United as a club and their history: he’ll buy into the United way and fit right in with their traditions.
The obvious comparison is with Wayne Rooney, brought in from Everton at a young age, but who went straight into the team. Rooney is still only 29, but he’s already bearing down on top scorer records both for England and for United, where you’d expect him to beat both records, both set by Sir Bobby Charlton. Kane might just be the successor to this lineage.
If Kane is in that lineage, then he’ll benefit greatly in the long run from playing alongside a legend like Wayne Rooney. But in the short term, Kane and Rooney bouncing off each other seems to make perfect sense for United.
It’s not that United should care about how England do. They might want the national team to do well, but I’m sure the club care more about their own fortunes, and that’s fair enough. But having a strike force of their own who play together well for club and country means they have a pair who know each other very well and are happy to play not just with each other, but for each other. With Rooney in the ‘big brother’ role, mentoring Kane, both club and country could have something special.