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red snub He might be a perfect fit but there are 120 million reasons why Liverpool won’t buy Harry Kane


Jurgen Klopp, manager of Liverpool, talks to Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur after the Premier League match between Liverpool and Tottenham at Anfield on April 2, 2016. Photo: Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Jurgen Klopp, manager of Liverpool, talks to Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur after the Premier League match between Liverpool and Tottenham at Anfield on April 2, 2016. Photo: Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Daniel Levy

Daniel Levy


Jurgen Klopp, manager of Liverpool, talks to Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur after the Premier League match between Liverpool and Tottenham at Anfield on April 2, 2016. Photo: Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Of all the clubs that could attract Harry Kane this summer, one perfect destination is never mentioned: Liverpool.

Under more appealing circumstances, Kane could slot effortlessly into the Liverpool team, ideally suited to a front three where he could play the dual role he has mastered as a slightly deeper centre-forward who still scores as prolifically as a traditional number nine.

Kane is exactly what Liverpool have lacked up front this season, and would comfortably make the adjustment working under Jurgen Klopp having excelled under Mauricio Pochettino. I love what Roberto Firmino has done for my old club and he has found goal-scoring form at the right time in the last few weeks – but no one will argue against the fact Kane can do what the Brazilian does and more. Alongside Kevin De Bruyne, Kane is my favourite Premier League player.

If Klopp thought a move was possible he would obviously be interested. Who wouldn’t be?

But the fact Liverpool will not pursue the England striker underlines Kane’s problem as he looks for the right club to fulfil his ambitions. Brilliant though he is, Liverpool’s stance is correct. For many reasons, such an expensive transfer makes no sense.

Supporters are educated enough to know what represents a good deal, and any club thinking of spending over £100 million (€116m) on an attacker will look at those in their early 20s like PSG’s Kylian Mbappe or Borussia Dortmund duo Erling Haaland and Jadon Sancho. There are so many world-class or potentially world-class young forwards out there, Kane is pushing for a move at an inopportune moment in his career and in the transfer market.

Every top manager in Europe wants him, but his options are limited to a couple of clubs who won’t be priced out. He is responsible for that because of his strange decision to sign a six-year contract after the last World Cup in 2018.

He should never have committed for so long. A three or four-year extension then would have left him in a much healthier negotiating position now.

Instead, Kane still has three years left on his deal. He may be stuck. Whenever I hear a reference to a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ between a player and his club – the suggestion being Spurs will do the ‘honorable’ thing and let their best player go – there is a temptation to laugh out loud. If there is no legally-binding obligation to sell, forget that being a factor in chairman Daniel Levy’s discussions.

That’s why Kane trying to leave Spurs reads like the first page in a long, potentially divisive story as Levy stands his ground to either keep the player or secure an eye-watering fee. Levy has no imperative to compromise on his asking price. As a businessman with Tottenham’s financial interests his priority, it is his duty to stick to it. That’s the benefit of giving Kane that deal in the first place, protecting his market value. To think or expect anything else is naive.

Levy also knows the complexities those clubs interested in Kane must deal with when determining whether to pay so much for him. Sporting directors can make a compelling case for sanctioning expensive deals for younger players, knowing they can expect five or six years of top-level performance as they head towards their peak. There is the likelihood of a return on their investment with continuous Champions League football, and the knowledge that if they fulfil their potential and are sold in future a player’s asking price will increase.

Kane no longer offers such value. He will be 28 at the start of next season. The best-case scenario is that he might bring around 100 goals over the next four seasons, but every club is considering the longer-term, especially in this uncertain economic period. The fee of around £120m (€140m) is big enough.

That’s before we consider Kane’s salary, which would increase from the £200,000 (€233,000) a week he is reportedly earning now. Is any player – no matter how good – worth more than £1.5m (€1.74m) per goal? By the end of his contract, Kane’s transfer value will have decreased to such a point that whoever signs him now will only recoup a fraction of that.

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Even for a club that can afford it, such as Man City, that is bad business. For all the money invested at the Etihad, they have railed against such short-term thinking. That’s why they walked away from Alexis Sanchez in 2018.

As the champions try to fill the void left by Sergio Aguero, I would expect City to look for a striker who will spend the rest of the decade at the club, not come in to plug a gap for a few seasons. And if City opt out of prolonged negotiations with Levy a chairman who has a track record of dragging talks to the last days of the transfer window to get every last penny from a buyer - Kane’s options are more limited.

Such is the rivalry between Spurs and Chelsea, Kane moving to Stamford Bridge looks too inflammatory to consider. He will be aware of that.

So of those clubs who can afford him, Manchester United stand out as the most likely to meet whatever valuation is put on the player. They have a recent history of signing established stars, successful with their recruitment of Robin van Persie, but less so when luring Sanchez from Arsenal.

There has been talk at Old Trafford of moving away from that transfer model, and instead focusing on up-and-coming players. United may be more inclined to reignite their interest in Sancho.

But from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s perspective, it is easy to imagine him thinking about the here and now more than three or four years ahead. United have slightly improved this season, but if they do not win the title or Champions League in the next two years Solskjaer will be out of a job. Kane would give them the impetus to go for the title next season.

Solskjaer won’t care too much about the financial implications if his board tells him they are prepared to bid for Kane. United’s need for him is greater than City’s.

“Ultimately it’s going to be down to me and how I feel and what’s going to be the best for me and my career at this moment in time,” Kane told my Sky Sports colleague Gary Neville this week. Sorry, Harry. That’s not the case. Everyone is anticipating a fight between the player and the chairman, but the reality of the situation is this: Levy won the day he convinced Kane to commit to Spurs until 2024.

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