Manchester United’s genuine and long-standing interest in Harry Kane dates back to Louis Van Gaal’s period in charge when the Dutchman instructed his board to sign the 22-year-old at any cost.
A couple of summers later, the Reds revved up for another bid but this time their manager reportedly told the club’s hierarchy to save their money. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believed the centre-forward role at Old Trafford was reserved for Mason Greenwood for several years to come.
For non-footballing reasons this has not transpired of course and even a courtesy glance at United’s current squad reveals a desperate need for a natural born finisher.
After spending large sums addressing their defensive and midfield issues last summer the resulting budgetary restrictions meant Erik Ten Hag had to settle for bringing in Wout Weghorst on loan this January and though the Burnley man is a grafter he is anything but prolific, failing to score so far in the league.
He is a first-choice number nine for Manchester United who barely features in the football betting online. These two things are very rarely exclusive.
Elsewhere, Anthony Martial is perennially injury prone and though Marcus Rashford more than compensates for his team-mates’ shortcomings it could be argued that United are overly reliant on his firepower.
Besides, the bulk of his 15 Premier League goals have come from the left anyway.
All of which leaves us with one of the most open secrets in football. That come the season’s end, when the transfer window is ajar, Manchester United intend to go all-in for a world class striker.
Names in the frame include Napoli’s Victor Osimhen and Goncalo Ramos of Benfica but in reality little has changed in nigh-on seven years now. Harry Kane is the player they most crave, and this time they might well get him.
The reasons for this are self-evident, with the now 29-year-old proving once again this term that he is unquestionably one of the best Premier League strikers since the competition’s inception, indeed one of the very best of all time full stop.
With 23 goals in 30 league appearances to date in 2022/23 it means the three-time Golden Boot winner has smashed the 20-goal barrier in six of his last nine campaigns and this astounding consistency recently saw him crowned Tottenham’s record goal-scorer.
Kane is also England’s captain and the status that comes with that matters to a club of United’s standing.
Moreover, he goes a long way to completing the model being put in place by Ten Hag who now has a defence he trusts and an engine-room powered by Casemiro. He is the proverbial final piece in an expensively-assembled jigsaw.
Regarding the forward’s availability, the needle has moved since Manchester City tried to move mountains to sign him 18 months ago though the £100m-plus price will no doubt remain the same.
It is unlikely that Spurs fans will be able to muster the same level of hostility to the move while from the player’s perspective, if he was frustrated with his lot back in 2021 it can only be imagined how exasperated he’s been by yet another season of turmoil in North London.
It’s a season that has seen another manager depart and Kane score 41.8% of his team’s goals just to keep them in the top four reckoning.
He will jump at the chance of success, to ultimately align silverware with his substantial personal achievements.
The betting markets believe there is every chance that next term Harry Kane will be scoring on an almost weekly basis in red. At this juncture it feels nailed on.
*Credit for all of the photos in this article belongs to AP Photo*