Ange Postecoglou stopped short of giving a hard deadline, but he was clear how keen he was for a quick resolution to the Harry Kane saga.
“I think for all concerned, we don’t want to do it too long,” he said. “I don’t think it’s good for anyone. I don’t think it’s good for Harry, I don’t think it’s good for the club.”
It came up two weeks ago, so you can imagine how the Tottenham boss feels now, after a day when Bayern Munich bosses flew over for talks with Spurs chairman Daniel Levy.
The prices for the two parties were still around £25 million ($32m; €29.2m) apart in price and discussions are set to continue.
The Bundesliga champions have already seen an initial bid of €70m (£60m; $77m) plus add-ons rejected in June, so it appears there is still some way to go.
Postecoglou has been good at drawing attention to the Kane situation, joking at press conferences about how quickly he has been asked for an update on the England captain. But if most people associated with Spurs think it’s extremely boring, what must Postecoglou be thinking?
He has been in the game long enough to know that this sort of thing is part of football and, as was pointed out to Postecoglou a few weeks ago, he inherited a comparable situation to Odsonne Edouard at Celtic. But it’s impossible to shake the feeling that Spurs are stuck in a state of stasis until they know what happens with Kane.
Tottenham begin their Premier League season on Sunday (August 13) away at Brentford. It was the deadline Postecoglou did not want to set, however Athletics have previously reported that there is a feeling within football that Spurs and Kane want a solution before then. But even that could mean another week of incremental negotiations, with Spurs still not sure if they want their talisman this season or have to embark on the mother of all rebuilds.
And there are less than three weeks between the start of the season and the closing of the transfer window. Spurs have obviously made contingency plans should Kane leave, but as we’ve seen with the club’s centre-back search, having plans and finalizing deals are two very different things. Especially because if Kane does leave, any selling club will know that Spurs are both desperate for reinforcements and fresh on a massive cash injection.
That post-Kane process wouldn’t be easy when it happens, but it has to be preferable to the current state of not knowing. Everything is on hold until it is resolved. Tottenham’s interest in Nottingham Forest’s Brennan Johnson, for example – how can they possibly proceed with that until they know if Kane is staying?
To be fair to Tottenham, there is only so much they can do in this situation.
Unless Bayern offer what they consider to be satisfactory, they will not be moved. And it’s understandable – being thrown into a decision would be uncomfortable in the short term and have the long-term effect of telling the rest of the market that Spurs can be pushed around when it comes to selling their best players. Generally, the opposite has been the case for Spurs, and as it stands, Bayern are not even close to offering what they want.
It’s just that what we’re seeing now is so deeply unsatisfying for everyone involved, and there can’t be a situation where negotiations continue until the end of the window. While continuing to negotiate means a slightly better fee for Kane, it must be weighed against the detrimental effects of this pulling out.
Returning to Postecoglou, the new boss has a lot of good will after a safe start to the job – mainly at this point due to how he has carried himself and handled the difficulties thrown at him, such as Kane- the situation and the lack of any new centre-backs. It feels so frustrating that he has to start life at Spurs with effectively one hand tied behind his back.
You’d hope the Tottenham hierarchy are aware of that, but every day that goes by without the problem being resolved is another where Postecoglou and the team still don’t quite know the direction of travel.
Somehow, everyone at Spurs desperately needs that clarity.
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