What next for Kane after humbled Levy is forced into delivering world’s sh***est ultimatum?

Dave Tickner
Harry Kane and Daniel Levy

Poor Daniel Levy. We’re not going to ask you to feel too sorry for English football’s most well-remunerated suit, but you’d have to have a heart of stone not to at least feel something about the near impossibly awkward position into which he’s now been placed.

For those quite understandably not desperately keeping entirely on top of the latest machinations of the Harry Kane Saga Volume II, the latest development is Spurs’ distant and uninterested billionaire owner Joe Lewis apparently getting involved to tell Levy to stop f**king about and make sure that a £100m asset does not leave for absolutely nothing in 12 months’ time.

Now, there is one school of thought among Spurs fans that this story is, in fact, bollocks. It remains possible, because Kane does attract a lot of bollocks reporting. The key plank of this theory, beyond just generally Kane attracting bollocks, is that Lewis has never been moved to personally intervene like this in 20 years, so why now?

Which is reasonable enough and might very well be the case. But does invite the obvious retort: because this is the first time Levy has looked like he might actually allow a £100m asset to devalue to zero.

And £100m is the sort of number that attracts the attention of even the least bothered Bahamas-based tax-exile billionaire.

If Lewis has intervened in anything like the way reported, Levy has been completely stitched up. His whole stance has been built upon a rock-solid refusal to deal below a figure he wouldn’t even reveal but was demonstrably in nine-figure territory. Even if he did sell it was going to be on his terms: for a record-busting fee, and only to a foreign team.

Now, having spent all summer reminding Kane that however important he might be, he is only an employee, Levy has perhaps been handed a similar reminder from his own line manager.

So what now? The full weakness of Levy’s now exposed position is clear in that he has now been forced to issue the least compelling ultimatum in football history, giving Harry Maguire’s threat to quit Man United if they took the captaincy away a sadly short-lived run in the top spot.

Harry Kane, you’re going to have to sign a new contract or we will have no choice but to sell you. I mean, bloody hell. Imagine Levy – a difficult man but by no definition a stupid one – having to get those words out. If you don’t do the thing you don’t want to do, then you will get the thing you do want.

It’s not really an ultimatum at all, is it? If you don’t eat your peas then I will have no choice but to give you this ice cream.

The only possible way it might work is that suddenly offering the Kanes everything they want causes Charlie’s head to fall off in confusion and accidentally get his brother to sign a new six-year contract. Sounds unlikely because it is, but we wouldn’t entirely rule it out given everything we’ve seen from the older brother’s cosplay agent efforts. A man who has a motorcycle and tyre marks in his office is truly capable of anything, and not in a good way.

The actual outcome is that Kane will now surely leave. We understand but have never subscribed to the theory that it could be good for Spurs, mainly because we’ve seen what they and others have generally done when handed that kind of money to reinvest. But there is something in the idea that Kane’s departure would at least force Spurs to fully and totally move on and commit to the hard reset that has been needed and put off since the dog days of Pochettino.

And Kylian Mbappe’s no doubt imminent arrival will also help, but what if he takes time to adapt to the Premier League? Better surely to go for a Wout Weghorst type, someone who understands Our League.

That Weghorst whimsy does allow us to segue seamlessly into what actually happens next.

The news of any softening in Spurs’ stance is obviously good news for Bayern Munich, who have been chasing Kane all summer and deploying a team of pet journalists perhaps even more pliant and tame than Real Madrid’s to help get the job done, one drawing a witheringly Australian response from Ange Postecoglou when turning up at a press conference on the other side of the world with a ‘Kane 9’ Bayern shirt. It’s not a great sketch, but you do have to at least admire the time committed to it.

But it might be better news for Manchester United, who have so far been too scared even to talk to Levy who has been brusque with them ever since that whole Dimitar Berbatov business. A chastened, reduced Levy might not be such a terrifying prospect now, and Kane remains in footballing if not financial terms the lowest-risk and highest-output option for the instant short-term improvement United require up front.

And let’s be honest, we all want to see what kind of nonsense Spurs might get up to with another £100m to spend on a new Magnificent Seven.