If Harry Kane isn’t already Tottenham Hotspur’s greatest player of all time, then he soon will be. Even after just three or four seasons as a first-team regular, it’s hard to think of too many Lilywhites past or present who compare to Kane.
Partly, that’s because they haven’t had an awful lot of world-class players over the years – don’t @ me, it’s a fact. But mostly, it’s because he is one of the finest strikers on the planet, and could end up being the best English forward in history.
So why are the likes of Christian Benteke, Javier Hernandez and Marouane Fellaini being paid more money to do their jobs?
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who looks as if he’s barely capable of running the full length of the pitch these days, earns precisely twice as much basic wage as Kane. Sure, add-ons will certainly bump up HK’s take-home pay significantly – but it’s not as if those above him aren’t also getting that type of bonus. Whatever way you look at it, he’s not getting anywhere near what he should.
— Ben Harris (@thisisbenharris) December 28, 2017
Of course, it’s hardly Tottenham’s fault if other clubs see fit to throw cash at footballers who are vastly inferior to Kane. They didn’t ask Liverpool, for example, to spunk £150k-per-week on Daniel Sturridge, a player who appears to spend as much time on the physio’s table as on the pitch.
But this, as we’re constantly reminded, is the market. And Spurs aren’t competing.
They’re not even close to competing, in fact. That’s why Kyle Walker, 13 places above Kane on the list above, left the club and joined Man City. Gareth Bale wasn’t shy about leaving for Real Madrid. Neither was Luka Modric. Both probably would have stayed if Spurs had paid them their dues.
Does Daniel Levy really want the same to happen with Kane?
It’s all well and good losing someone like Walker, who is very much replaceable and, arguably, not worth anywhere near his salary. But how long can Tottenham keep losing their best players until it becomes clear to everyone that, actually, there’s little ambition at the club other than to be financially stable medium-fry who sometimes mix it with the big boys?
Spurs have the potential to dine at the same table as United, City and Co., but they will never do so unless they hold on to the rare world-class talents that pitch up at White Hart Lane. Sadly, the only way of achieving that is to transfer massive, obscene amounts of money into those players’ bank accounts.
That may be unpalatable – only a madman would truly believe that paying a sportsman a million quid each month is justified – but it’s the reality in which the game now exists. You don’t have to like it, but that’s the way it is.
It’s not 1970 any more. Footballers don’t hang around for long unless they’re heavily incentivised.
Supporters and observers who speak of loyalty without considering more prosaic things like paypackets have a total lack of comprehension of what it means to be an elite player in 2018. Premier League footballers live in a different world to the rest of us. It’s utterly pointless trying to apply a ‘normal’ person’s logic to what they do.
Harry Kane seems like he genuinely does want to remain at the club, but there’s no possibility that it won’t trouble him greatly to be so relatively underpaid for what he does. Whatever you feel about the amounts, it’s undeniable that Kane’s ability merits a pay rise of at least £100k-per-week in the current market.
If Spurs don’t give it to him – and they might – eventually he will go, and the club’s unwillingness to pay market value will have cost them a shot at building a team around an all-time great.