Manchester United are perhaps more likely to wait another year and go for Erling Haaland instead of entering the running for the transfer of Harry Kane this summer.
This is the view of former Red Devils midfielder Luke Chadwick, speaking exclusively to CaughtOffside, who believes it could be worth the wait to stay out of the Kane transfer battle in order to land a younger player in the form of Haaland, who he thinks fits the mould better for United.
Haaland has been on fire for Borussia Dortmund, scoring 41 goals in 41 games last season, with the 21-year-old surely having his best years ahead of him as well.
A big move seems inevitable for Haaland, and Chadwick is keen to see the Norway international at Old Trafford as he fully expects Kane to end up at Manchester City instead.
“When it gets to this point that Harry Kane’s not turned up to training, you know that discussions have taken place. Harry Kane and his representatives haven’t been happy with what Daniel Levy’s doing and they’re prepared to go to this extreme and not turn up to training,” Chadwick said.
“It’s quite a sad situation to see really, that this is the route that it’s going to go down and that it could get messy, because Kane’s an absolute legend at Tottenham Hotspur. But it looks like his time’s come to an end and he wants to try something different. It’s hard to see how Kane can play for Spurs again. It’s going to be a big transfer fee and it looks like Man City is the one everyone’s talking about, while it also looks like the Grealish deal is pretty much done.
“Where else is there if not City for Kane? I think the only club who could afford him is Paris Saint-Germain, but I don’t think that’s really the kind of challenge he’s looking for. He wants to win titles, but I think especially the Premier League title, which he’s been unable to do at Spurs. You sort of expect the deal to happen, but it looks like it’ll be a long-drawn-out affair. Daniel Levy’s shown he can be a ruthless businessman, so it looks like it’ll get messier before it gets better.”
There have been mixed reports on talk of a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ for Kane to leave Spurs. But how much are these really a thing in football, with Kane tied down to a long-term contract by his club?
“Gentleman’s agreements do happen quite a lot,” Chadwick told CaughtOffside. “You expect people to stick to their word. Some kind of dialogue has happened between Kane and Levy and it’s been agreed this can happen.
“Spurs are not in a great place, obviously they’ve got the new manager in but the squad’s not as strong as it has been. I think if there wasn’t an agreement then Kane isn’t the sort of person that would not turn up to training unless he feels he’s been wronged. I’m pretty sure he has been told that he’ll be allowed to move on if the right offer comes in.
“Obviously a gentleman’s agreement is not legally binding, but you expect people to keep their word. It all looks a bit messy and I don’t think anyone likes to see deals done in this way and it’ll be interesting to see how this pans out over the next few weeks.”
Discussing United potentially being in for Kane, Chadwick said: “I think the profile of the player United are looking for – obviously Kane would be a huge signing, but I think maybe they are waiting for Erling Haaland.
“It looks like the investments they’ve made in Varane and Sancho maybe show that they’re not looking for a striker this year. I can’t see Kane going to United, there doesn’t seem to be much whispering about it at the moment, I think he’s got his heart set on playing under Pep Guardiola. Next season he’d be another year older, so I think United would be looking for a younger striker.
“They’ve kept Edinson Cavani for another year and that could pave the way for Haaland to come in next summer – he’s a younger player, an incredible goal-scorer, and I think that’s the one that more fits the United mould more than Harry Kane.
“Even if we have to wait a year, I think he’s worth the wait. Him, Kane and Mbappe are the three main players on the market who can really make a difference and score the goals to win the title for this team. I can’t see Mbappe coming to United, Kane’s heart’s set on City, so Haaland looks like the one. I think it’s worth waiting 12 months if they can get him through the door.”
Did Chadwick ever witness anything like this from Man Utd players during his time at Old Trafford? “Not that I can remember!” he said. “At the time it was a bit different, player power is probably higher now than it was then.
“The whole culture and the ethos at Manchester United, and with Sir Alex Ferguson in charge, there weren’t a lot of people in my time at the club who stepped out of line. It was never usually the players’ decision to move on, it would be the club and the manager who decided.”