“I just want to win, I want to win trophies. I don’t think there is a day that goes past when I don’t think I want to win something. I want to win the Premier League, I want to win the Champions League, I want to win the FA Cup. In three years’ time if I haven’t won a few trophies by then I think it would be disappointing. In three years’ time when you walk in the training ground there’s got to be a wall saying Premier League winners or FA Cup winners or European Cup winners.”
Four years on from telling Thierry Henry of his ambition, Harry Kane sees no such wall at Tottenham’s training ground. There is still no silverware in their cabinet and their trophy drought is now in its 13th year. That lack of tangible success means that Kane’s career is at a crossroads. At 27 years old, one of the finest strikers on the planet is now entering his peak and, to put it bluntly, how many more years can he afford to waste without winning silverware?
Tottenham face Manchester City on Saturday in a dress rehearsal for April's Carabao Cup final, with Kane 11/4 to score at anytime online with Betfred. But with Spurs out of the FA Cup and the Premier League title race, and with nine games still to negotiate in the Europa League, there is a chance their trophy drought may be ended with the ugly duckling of major competitions. The League Cup final provides the perfect opportunity to banish Spurs’ demons, with the same trophy in 2008 being their last piece of silverware under Juande Ramos. But even if they overcome City, is this the sort of title Kane wants to win? He said nothing about League Cups when talking about a champions’ wall at the training ground.
Spurs boss Jose Mourinho, with four League Cups already to his name, has bigged up the profile of the tournament and tried to play down the talk that Spurs must win something if Kane is to stick around. “To win a trophy, he just needs to win one game. I know that it is a big, difficult game. I know that it is against probably the team that is going to win the Premier League this year, so I think it is a very difficult final that we will have to play,” said Mourinho recently.
“But to win a trophy, we just need to win a match. You have to ask Harry, but I think 'to wait' is not the right way to describe it. It is to fight for it. But it's something very personal, and I think he is the right guy to have a conversation with you about it.”
So what reasons does Kane have to stick around? Well, he has played for Spurs since 2004, they are the club his whole family supports, and he is settled in London with his young family. The new stadium and facilities around the club are also a plus for Kane and a move away, or even abroad, would upset the settled life he has. But a footballer’s career is incredibly short and there is no time to waste in playing safe.
The other thing that could potentially keep him at the club, or in the Premier League at the very least, is the chance to break Alan Shearer’s goal record. The Englishman scored 260 Premier League goals and remains streets ahead of other great names such as Wayne Rooney, Andy Cole and Sergio Aguero. Kane currently has 156 goals in 230 games, so another five 20-goal seasons after this campaign would take him past the record, which at one point looked unbeatable.
There are further comparisons to be made between Shearer and Kane. The Newcastle legend turned down the chance to join Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United, who were the dominant force in that era, and instead chose to join his boyhood club, becoming a club legend at St James’ Park. Yes, he would have won more trophies in Manchester, but to this day he doesn’t regret his decision at all - the man has a statue outside his hometown stadium, something that would've never happened at Old Trafford. With a Premier League title already under his belt with Blackburn Rovers, he decided to try to win silverware with Newcastle and although it never quite materialised for him, he still got the chance to score hundreds of goals for, and even captain, the side he loved.
Would a La Liga title with Real Madrid, or a Bundesliga with Bayern Munich mean as much to Kane as a trophy with Tottenham? Only he can answer that question, but one thing is for certain, every top club in the world would be desperate to have him. At 27, Spurs could demand a huge amount of money for his signature, but the window of opportunity for Kane to depart at his peak is only a brief one. If he waits a couple more years, his chance to make an impact elsewhere may be gone.
The England captain must choose between his head and his heart, or be convinced by Mourinho that the side can contend for the big trophies once more. The League Cup is so often the basis for all of Jose’s success, and this year’s final in April could prove way more significant than simply ending the trophy drought. It could be what tempts Kane to stay in north London as he seeks the kind of riches he’s always dreamed of.