Harry Kane is 28 this summer. He has not won anything and it now looks increasingly unlikely his club Tottenham will be in the Champions League next season.
But if he looks to leave in search of medals then where on earth does he go?
We know now that Tottenham’s ballpark price tag for the England captain is north of £150million. Kane is one of the world’s best No 9s and great players should never come cheap. But that price still feels a little top-heavy right now.
Harry Kane looks stuck at Tottenham and could be forced into a decision over his future
Some argue that it’s the market rate but what is the market? At that price it’s extremely small indeed.
Spurs chairman Daniel Levy insists he doesn’t want to sell at all but certainly does not want to sell to a Manchester club. Of all the things Levy doesn’t like, the insinuation that his club remain vulnerable to the whims, fancies and inclinations of the big beasts of the north is up there near the top of the list. We remain in the grip of a pandemic anyway. We still have no crowds in stadiums and absolutely no idea when — if ever — we will next see a capacity.
With this in mind, Manchester United have already indicated that lavish transfer spending is not currently feasible. Sell Paul Pogba to part-fund a move for Kane? Maybe, but easier said than done.
Spurs are unlikely to be able to provide Kane with Champions League football next season
However, the England captain’s exit route from north London is not easy this summer
City, on the other hand, may feel they can find better value elsewhere. The grapevine has it that Erling Haaland will join from Borussia Dortmund this summer. He is only 20.
So with Barcelona financially stricken and Real Madrid drowning in debt, realistic and theoretical suitors for Kane can perhaps be whittled down pretty quickly to Paris Saint-Germain of France.
Mauricio Pochettino is manager in Paris, of course. A reunion with Kane would make a nice story. But Pochettino already has some decent forwards on his books. Neymar. Kylian Mbappe. So who knows?
From the outside looking in, Kane looks a little stuck. He may not wish to leave, of course. He has a good life and lives with his young family near the Tottenham training ground.
Manchester City are suitors but they can find better value for money by signing Erling Haaland
A reunion with Pochettino has been mooted but he already has Neymar and Mbappe at PSG
Some players don’t need pots and pans — as Brian Clough called them — to feel fulfilled. Alan Shearer could have won the lot at United but chose Newcastle where he won nothing to add to the single Premier League title he earned at Blackburn.
Mostly, though, professional sportsmen and women exist to win. It is what drives them.
And when Kane looks at Tottenham what does he see? Drift, I would imagine.
Under Pochettino, Tottenham threatened to change their story. They competed for the Premier League title the year that Leicester won it. They reached the Champions League final where they lost to Liverpool. They moved into perhaps the best new stadium I am yet to see.
Kane may have to sit tight and wait until his contract reaches the start of its final year in 2023
But they have not built on that. Jose Mourinho — Pochettino’s successor — has done exactly what we expected in that he has tried to plot a path forward in a different way. His team are in the Carabao Cup final in April but league form is poor.
So if Kane, as deadly as ever this season, decides to at least have a look at where the door might be, it would be no shock.
At the moment, unless a club surprises us, his best bet would appear to be to sit tight and wait for his contract to reach the start of its final year in the summer of 2023.
Kane would be turning 30 by then and Spurs would have to sell. He would still have some years left. That may be his time.
He must pray those battered ankles hold up.
The new Nike football to be used between now and the season’s end is available to buy through a link on the Premier League website.
Apparently the ball is being changed at this juncture so that it ‘matches the intensity of the final stages’ of the season.
If you buy it you will find the ball has ‘high-contrast graphics making it easy to track across the pitch’. The Liverpool central defenders will be pleased.
The new Nike football – priced at £125 – shows the Premier League has failed to read the room
But you will also find that it costs £125.
The country remains in the grip of a health pandemic. Wages are being frozen, jobs are going. Food banks are being frequented in record numbers.
Yet amid all this the Premier League endorses a piece of synthetic leather at a cost so obscene it is scarcely believable.
Try to read the room next time, chaps.
Referee Darren Drysdale reached the end of his tether — and possibly his career — when he squared up to Ipswich’s Alan Judge.
We hope he receives a modicum of understanding. Given the levels of abuse routinely directed at match officials, this was always on the cards.
Equally, referees do not help themselves. Dissent is a curse on our game but match officials are the facilitators.
Darren Drysdale may reach the end of his career but referees must send players off for dissent
Law 12 provides clearly defined scope to send players off for using foul and abusive language or gestures.
Yet it is never invoked.
In fact, a player has not been sent off for such an offence in the Premier League for nine years.
Footballers are like children in that they will get away with anything as long as they know they can. And when it comes to a generally abysmal use of language, they can.