Antonio Conte is on the verge of becoming Tottenham’s manager, but his main stipulation, that Harry Kane not be sold, cannot be guaranteed.
The Athletic and BBC, among other reputable publications, are reporting that Conte is almost assuredly bound for Hotspur Way, to take the reigns as Tottenham’s next manager. Already looking to protect his — and Tottenham’s best interests — Conte is insistent on Kane staying in north London for at least another season.
Though I don’t see how Spurs can provide that guarantee. Yes, Daniel Levy, in his best attempt to scupper the prospective high-profile transfer, can strike a hard bargain and demand an overly exorbitant fee for the club’s ace asset.
But that probably won’t stop Manchester City from swooping in on their main off-season target. While I would love nothing more than for Kane to stay at Spurs, it would be highly counterproductive — even severely damaging in the short and long term — to keep him in north London against his will.
While totally different players, we all saw what happened when Levy refused to sell Christian Eriksen after the Dane went public about his desire to leave the club. That damaging scenario is one Spurs cannot afford to repeat.
If Kane wants to leave, he must, if the price is right, be provided the platform to do so. Nothing good comes from keeping a player against his will, as motivation, desire and devotion to the cause become non-existent.
Of course there is still a chance that Conte, with his unparalleled power of persuasion, can convince Kane to stay at Spurs. In that case, let the Italian do his best to cast a spell on Spurs’ talisman. But Kane must want to stay. Otherwise there’s no point of drawing out the inevitable.
So while Tottenham can guarantee Conte’s other stipulations — to be granted wholesale autonomy on all football decisions (in partnership with prospective new sporting director Fabio Paratici) and to be provided a healthy transfer kitty — I don’t see how they can assure the Italian of Kane’s future at the club.