Sport is a cruel mistress, especially when it comes to legacies. You can be the epitome of perfection, and fans will still find a way to downplay your abilities. Ask Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Lewis Hamilton, or any other ‘G.O.A.T’ in any other sport. These athletes are unprecedented in history, given their achievements and ability. Yet, the debates regarding their status and comparisons to other legends always rage.
In football, there have been many players who have been absolutely brilliant, but because they haven’t won many trophies, they are overlooked for more decorated players. Jermain Defoe and Matt Le Tissier come to mind as two examples. These are two players who had all the ability, talent and execution of the top players during their time, but are celebrated much lesser.
It is a bit redundant to use team trophies as a metric to compare players in the grand scheme of things. By that logic, Naby Keita is a better player than Bruno Fernandes, because the latter has never won a Premier League or a Champions League. Trophies should be a thing while comparing players with similar influence and ability.
Kane in pain
And then there is Harry Kane.
Kane is a special case. You only have to take one look at football forums to see trolls having a field day with him at any given moment. It’s not because he missed a sitter or because he scored an own goal. It’s because he has won exactly zero major trophies in his career. Whenever Kane stalks about, the zero trophies thing hangs over him like the sword of Damocles. If you want to be said football forum troll and say the Audi Cup is a major trophy, you are on the wrong article.
But if you are Kane, what do you do? How many times do you be at the top of your game, and when you have an off day, the entire team capitulates? How many times do you deliver fantastic performances, but your team can’t even beat Dinamo Zagreb in the Europa League despite being 2-0 up?
You cannot look this writer in the eye and tell him there are objectively five better strikers in the world today than Kane. Robert Lewandowski is ahead, yes, but who else? There’s not one striker in the world today other than Lewandowski who is better than the England captain, in my humble opinion. Sorry Lukaku, Immobile, CR7 if we are considering him, Kane is better at the #9 role than any of these players at the end of this club football season. Yes, we will all be back here when Ronaldo or Lukaku wins the Golden Boot at the Euros. Until then, here is the objective truth – Harry Kane is at least a top 3 striker in the world today, irrespective of trophies won.
Kane is a clinical goalscorer, of that we have no doubt. However, he is a complete player. Just look at his heatmaps for Spurs, and you would swear he is a box-to-box midfielder. It’s not a joke when your writer says Kane has cleared some goals off the line. Such has been his workrate and his midfield link-up play. Speaking of midfield, this season has seen Kane put some of the best creative playmakers to shame. His passing range and vision are simply out of the world. There is hardly a weakness in the Spurs talisman’s game.
You only have to look at the Southampton vs Spurs game of this season, in game week 2. Kane scored a goal and delivered FOUR assists to Son Heung-Min in a 5-2 thrashing of the Saints. Some of his passes have boasted such technique and vision, you can’t help but applaud him. The stats don’t lie; 23 goals and 14 assists in the league meant he was highest for goals scored AND assists provided. Those are ridiculous stats, and the fact that he did it in a team that is nowhere close to the top is even more impressive.
It is a massive shame, really, that such a talented player’s team trophy cabinet is empty. You can have all the individual awards you want, but there is a joy in leading your team to silverware. Kane hasn’t been able to do that, and this is a case where he can’t be blamed at all. Spurs have been shambolic in the big games, and while we can go on and on about their loser’s mentality, that is a story for another day.
Any ambitious player will want to win team trophies. So when Kane shocked the world and handed Spurs a transfer request, nobody blamed him. This is a player who has stayed loyal to the North London team for his entire career. Now that he has stated he wants to leave, there will be no shortage of teams willing to take him. That is, if they can meet Spurs owner Daniel Levy’s exorbitant demands.
But where should Kane go if he does leave Spurs? First things first, leaving Spurs is a big step-up in itself, given the team’s state right now and their inability to qualify for even the Europa League. First up are the obvious Barcelona and Real Madrid. Both would love to have him, but they don’t need him. With Barcelona signing Premier League marksman Sergio Agüero, and Real Madrid looking to sign Kylian Mbappé or Erling Haaland, he wouldn’t prefer to go to Spain.
Then again, why does he need to? He is one of the Premier League’s all-time leading goalscorers already. It only makes sense for him to cement his status as a legend of English football by continuing to play in England. As such, suitors for him include teams higher than Spurs in the PL hierarchy as of now. That’s Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool or Chelsea.
City seems like the ideal team for a player of Kane’s profile. Pep Guardiola may think he has reinvented football with his team of midfielders. but he hasn’t, and he actually needs a striker. With Agüero leaving City and Gabriel Jesus failing to explode, Kane may be what the team needs. Imagine Kane latching on to all those chances Kevin De Bruyne creates for him. It would be goalscoring madness, and a set and forget captain for Fantasy Premier League players. Moreover, given City’s squad, team trophies are guaranteed. So if Kane wants immediate gratification and long-term satisfaction, he may have to wear the sky blue jersey.
Liverpool would love Kane, and he would be a massive upgrade over Roberto Firmino. Not taking anything away from Bobby, but Firmino’s intense workrate is something Kane has in spades as well, and he is a much bigger threat in front of goal. Unfortunately, Liverpool will never spend a fortune on any player, let alone Kane. This leaves Manchester United and Chelsea.
The Red Devils are in need of a striker, no matter how good Edinson Cavani has been. Anthony Martial is simply not consistent enough to be a starter. Kane could be a massive signing for them, and one that might even help them mount a title challenge.
Chelsea, meanwhile, is faintly unthinkable, given their rivalry with Spurs. Kane might not make the move to another North London club. However, with Chelsea coming off a Champions League win, the project is very tempting for a player of Kane’s calibre. Rivalries aside, it’s not ridiculous to suggest he could make the switch. With Kane up front, they could become lethal in front of goal, something German striker Timo Werner hasn’t been in his first season in blue.
At a crossroads
There are those, especially some Spurs fans, who will say that Kane shouldn’t make the switch at all, and that being the talisman of Spurs means he can continue to be a top player who delivers big every season. But ultimately, the sad truth is that even if Kane ends his career as the all-time highest goalscorer in the league and holds all the records in the world, people would still rate him lower than Alan Shearer, Wayne Rooney or the aforementioned Agüero. All because of his empty trophy cabinet, never mind the innumerable individual awards he will inevitably collect.
To a player of his class and quality, that is a career blemish. He deserves to be in the conversation of the greatest PL players ever, and trophies shouldn’t be the factor that holds him back.
Kane has the talent, the prowess, and if his transfer request is anything to go by, the ambition. He must move to a top team and take up the new challenge. Otherwise, he faces the risk of being one of the best ever to play, only to have nothing to show for it. He needs to guide the teams he plays for to trophies, silverware and glory. He cannot do that at Tottenham. And let’s face it – with England, it’s never coming home. That is the only thing the online forum trolls are right about.