There are very few clubs in the world bigger or as big as Real Madrid. Perhaps only Manchester United and Barcelona can make such a claim. But Tottenham Hotspur, home of Harry Kane, whose last league title was in 1961, cannot.
The last time Spurs won a major trophy (FA Cup, 1991) 16 of their first team squad, including Kane, had not yet been born. They are a fine, well-run, well-managed and ambitious club whose fortunes are undeniably on the rise – but a successful, global name they are not.
In a different, less competitive era in England’s top tier – like the one in which their great rivals Arsenal won their most recent title – this Spurs iteration may well have already held aloft the Premier League trophy.
Instead, they have so far ended up as nearly men, a status which may not change significantly over the next few years, with heavyweights such as United, Chelsea and Manchester City in the process of reasserting control after 2015’s Ranieri-flavoured hiccup.
That’s not to say Spurs won’t win the Premier League within the coming seasons – more to suggest that if they do, it will be something of an anomaly. Their place in the current Premier League ecosystem, perhaps, is comparable to the wonderful turn-of-the-millennium Valencia side: the fourth or fifth-biggest team in the league who’ve stumbled on a golden generation, but who you feel will eventually revert to second-fiddle.
Which, of course, is perfectly fine, but for as ethereal a talent Harry Kane, is a bit of a problem.
Kane is well on his way to being one of the world’s finest strikers, and in this age the world’s finest strikers end up at the world’s biggest clubs. He requires not just a good team to play in, but a setup that reflects his status and his quality; one which will hand him the keys to the closed shop that is the Ballon d’Or shakeup.
Real Madrid would offer him such an opportunity, and Kane would not be doing justice to his gifts if he did not seize it. It’s not that Tottenham are small-fry, it’s just that Real are very, very big fry indeed. The possibility to achieve great things at the Bernabeu is far greater than it is at Wembley/White Hart Lane.
The world needs to see Harry Kane scoring in Champions League semi-finals and finals every year, winning trophies as a matter of routine, and playing alongside a collection of the planet’s greatest footballers.
Just look at the fortunes of Gareth Bale and Luka Modric, two geniuses who also outgrew Tottenham and made the move to Madrid. They’ve each won three Champions Leagues and a La Liga since they departed England.
This is the type of success Kane should be part of. He is capable of much more than being a massive fish in a medium-sized pond.