Harry Kane: 30 PL goals should lead to Man Utd not the Europa League with Spurs

Will Ford
Kane Tottenham

Harry Kane could conceivably score 30 Premier League goals and end up in the Europa League. What a waste. Off you pop to Manchester United.

Players charging around, working individually and as one, blocking shots, making last-ditch clearances and straining every sinew. This was the “spirit”, “heart” and “sense of belonging” Antonio Conte was talking about, instilled by Sean Dyche in his Everton team.

He’s shown the potential for a manager to completely alter the direction of a football club, which Conte claims was impossible at Spurs, but in fact just proved to be beyond the limits of the Italian’s patience, capability or both.

Mauricio Pochettino did it under the same regime at Spurs. FSG were criticised before Jurgen Klopp arrived at Liverpool. Arenal fans chanted ‘Kroenke out’ before their resurgence under Mikel Arteta. Spurs don’t need new owners, they need the right manager, and Conte was never that man.

Cristian Stellini isn’t either. He spoke with pride at “flying solo” ahead of the game but also said it would be much of the “same”, and it was, with Harry Kane their one great hope while the other ten Spurs players attempt to keep the opposition at bay and hope their talisman will do something special.

Because Spurs’ problem on Monday, as has been the case for much of the season, wasn’t with the work ethic of the players, but their absolute reliance on Kane, who may not stick around to welcome a new manager.

After his penalty at Goodison Park, Kane has now scored 22 and assisted two of Tottenham’s 53 Premier League goals this season. Son Heung-min, Dejan Kulusevski and Richarlison have scored eight between them. And that’s the big difference between Conte’s first season, which saw Son banging goals in and Kulusevski taking to the Premier League like a duck to water, and this season, which has seen Kane carry whoever is playing to his left and right.

Manchester United want him and Kane must be tempted. While Tottenham’s future is once again uncertain, Erik ten Hag’s first season suggests progress at Old Trafford will be speedy, and all the more speedy should Harry Kane fill the Harry Kane-shaped hole in the team.

Man Utd boss Ten Hag

And although Kane clearly thrives under, and likely enjoys, the pressure of being the main man at his boyhood club, there is also a negative correlation between his growing importance and the likelihood of Spurs winning anything. He can’t do it on his own.

His goals are the only reason Tottenham remain in the hunt for Champions League football, and you’ve got to wonder whether Kane himself wishes they counted for more. He could end up playing in the Europa League next season having scored 30 Premier League goals.

It might be a relief for Kane to be playing for Manchester United, where he could conceivably have an off day and still win a game of football. Maybe even have a rest now and again with the hopes of a club not resting entirely on his shoulders.

His exit would most likely be a disaster for Spurs, whose reliance on him has never been greater. But it would also mean others would have to come to the fore. Richarlison, Son and Kulusevski is a potentially excellent front three, and Spurs could get a very good, and much needed, playmaker with money made through Kane’s sale.

They will need a good manager too, who can instruct them not to sit back when they score and an opposition team is down to ten men. Michael Keane’s goal, an incredible strike from nothing though it was, was coming as Spurs bafflingly withdrew when in the ascendancy. But it was richly deserved by Everton, whose players embodied the infectious character of their exuberant manager.

Kane didn’t play especially well, but that’s the problem. If he doesn’t, Tottenham lose. The question is whether that reality is enough to drive him towards Manchester United, where the grass looks significantly greener and shared with teammates who can share the load.