It’s now or never for Manchester United if they are to sign Tottenham striker Harry Kane.
That’s the message from Alan Shearer as speculation over the England captain continues to mount on the back of reports that he might push for an exit from Spurs if they don’t qualify for the Champions League.
However, they could yet target Kane as other elite European clubs – such as city rivals Manchester City and La Liga giants Barcelona and Real Madrid – continue to be linked with high-profile pursuits for both men.
During his own playing days, all-time record Premier League goalscorer Shearer himself came close to an Old Trafford move from Blackburn before settling on a homecoming to Newcastle.
But while the former Newcastle United and England striker has stopped short of telling Kane what do this summer, he has sent a transfer warning to United and other would-be suitors.
Writing in a column for The Athletic, Shearer said: “If I was Harry Kane, nothing would p*** me off like ex-pros and pundits weighing in on what he should do for the good of his career. That’s a bandwagon I’ll happily watch roll by.
“He is already a legend at Tottenham. As England captain and the most complete English striker of his generation, it’s only natural that his situation, and the club he plays for, should command debate.
“The one indisputable fact is that Harry is under contract at Tottenham for three years. That six-year deal he signed in June 2018 was a fantastic piece of business by Daniel Levy and his club. It tied down their most saleable asset. I’m not convinced it was quite so great for Harry, even though the landscape there was much more positive back then.”
Shearer continued: “When I moved to Newcastle, I did so with the aim of winning trophies. That was the driver for me, as well as the pull of coming home. It didn’t work out like that, of course, but for most of my decade there, we were trying.
“Harry is a big player, he won’t accept staying at Spurs for the sake of it. He has to have something to buy into and, right now, winning means leaving. None of this means Harry should leave – that’s not something I would ever say.
“He is 28 in three months and that is why I think we’re approaching a pivotal moment. He is at his peak and a ready-made article, an absolute guarantee of goals wherever he plays and the opposite of a gamble, but a buying club is going to want three or four of his best years in return for what would certainly be an exorbitant transfer fee.
“This is that time. Twelve months down the line and it becomes that bit more difficult to justify.”
In a similar vein to Haaland, any would-be pursuit of Kane is almost-certain to cost upwards of nine figures, which may be tougher to justify amid financial complications brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.
As stated by Shearer, though, he offers guaranteed goals having compiled a staggering record of 162 in 221 starts for Tottenham in the Premier League alone.
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Shearer added: “If it came to it after the number of goals he’s scored and the service he’s given them, I’d hope that Tottenham fans would understand his reasoning, even if they didn’t like it.
“If it [his career] ends with no trophies, does that mean he will have had a s*** career? No, of course not.
“All that said, the great players do not settle. They always want more and they push for it. Harry is a great player, which is why it feels like he and Spurs are approaching a moment of definition.
“Whether it means staying or going, will they give him what he wants?”