COMMENT: Harry Kane and Manchester United. So those at the theatre are beginning to dream to again. And their biggest ally in this battle happens to pulling the strings at Tottenham...
It began in London, then spread to Turin. The Kane rumours. Talk of England's captain being unsettled at Tottenham stadium. Of him weighing things up. Assessing those around him. And coming to the conclusion that Tottenham's 12 year trophy drought is showing little sign of ending.
That was coming from the London press. Then in a matter of days, Turin's scribes began getting the calls. Fabio Paratici had put the feelers out. Juventus' sporting director letting it be known to go-betweens that not only are they interested, but a prime role for Kane has already been discussed. The Spurs striker would be Juve's answer to Karim Benzema. He would arrive not as an alternate for Cristiano Ronaldo, but as a partner. The pair would come together to bring out the best in eachother. Just as Benzema and the Portuguese had managed over nine trophy-laden years with Real Madrid.
For the moment, Kane is intrigued, but not sold. Word back from those Paratici trusts is that Kane is indeed leaning towards the Northwest - but of England, not Italy.
Both Manchester clubs are also in contact. United first - and now City. Kane is unsettled. Spurs are flagging. All the momentum garnered from last season's run to Madrid lost via another miserly show in the summer market. There are some sparks amongst all that smoke...
But no matter his ambitions, for Spurs it will be carnage this summer if Kane opts to leave.
In a few weeks, it'll be two years since Kane negotiated his last contract with Daniel Levy, the Spurs chairman. A deal that runs to 2024, Kane put pen to paper before being named England's World Cup captain and also before he'd helped Spurs reach last season's Champions League final. In other words, his status for both club and country has changed much in these two years.
Normally, internally, it would be the right time to recognise Kane's high achievements. Upgrade his deal to merit that status he's now earned. Problem is... indeed the fear is... should Levy seek to initiate a round of talks, the response might not be what he was hoping.
And that would spark a stampede. For the moment, all this is the stuff of cloak and dagger. Bits of encouragement here. A little less there. All done without any type of public confirmation. But it is bubbling just below the surface.
In Italy, they're adamant City have as much a chance of convincing Kane to commit as their rivals down the road. But those closer to Hotspur Way are insisting it is the United option he is warming to.
City's two-year Champions League ban - still subject to appeal - is an obvious factor. But Kane's thinking runs deeper. Many in English football can see the decline of City this season. The departure of Vincent Kompany. The pending exit of David Silva. The ageing legs of Sergio Aguero and Fernandinho. There is much for City and Pep Guardiola to fix. And without the available Champions League cash to balance the ledger, UEFA's Financial Fair Play laws will make it all the more difficult to short circuit this rebuild.
In contrast, United - with Bruno Fernandes a clear catalyst - are a team transformed. With players whose best years are still ahead of them. And boast the resources to not only buy Kane, but also satisfy his ambitions by buying others to complement him. It's all he's ever wanted from Tottenham - but never seen.
And this is the crux of it all. In an ideal world, Kane would be happy being a one club man. And for where Tottenham sit today, for their resources, there really is no reason why it should be otherwise.
Indeed, just last week, Levy boasted to a gathering of the Tottenham Supporters' Trust of the club's pre-tax £139m profit for 2017-18. A record for the Premier League. A figure almost £15m greater than Liverpool over the same season - a season where they reached the Champions League final.
But in the months before and after posting that profit, Liverpool would break the world transfer record twice. First for a defender, Virgil van Dijk, then for a goalkeeper, Alisson Becker, along with adding the likes of Naby Keita and Fabinho. In contrast, of course, Levy went into lockdown, failing to spend anything on anyone the following year. And when you consider the positions of the two clubs today, his claims to the Trust of 'no direct correlation between winning and spending money' really does ring hollow.
Jose Mourinho is right when he says Spurs 'aren't a selling club'. Problem is, they're not a buying club either. Which is why there is a genuine belief that Kane is prepared to make a move in the coming months.
Things won't change at Spurs. Levy's address to the Tottenham Trust all but confirms that. And that simply is no longer enough for Kane.
It'll be tense. Ugly. Even personal. But if they're to prise England's captain away from Tottenham this summer, United will have no better ally than Daniel Levy.
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