It’s hard to imagine how Harry Kane must be feeling right now. Everyone seems to have an opinion on what his next step will be – not least Bayern Munich, who are keen for him to move to the Allianz Arena.
According to The Athletic, that interest has now been formalized, with the German champions submitting a bid worth $77m (£60m/€70m) for the Tottenham talisman. That certainly wouldn’t be enough to do a deal, but it’s hard to imagine Bayern making a bid without some kind of encouragement from Kane.
If he were to make a move, it would be in search of trophies. Few important clubs offer more guarantees than Bayern Munich, and many say Kane needs more silverware for his legacy. Steven Gerrard, who left Liverpool without ever winning the Premier League, can confirm that particular ‘Top Trumps’ trivia will never completely go away.
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But Kane would also sacrifice a great deal by staying away. Not only will he slightly diminish his legacy at Tottenham – dethroning the status of a club that Gerrard enjoyed at Liverpool, barring a stay in MLS – he will also likely throw away his shot at breaking the Premier League goals record.
Choosing Bayern Munich would be a statement that he could not reach his desired level at Tottenham, regardless of the individual records he broke. A recent poll of professional players suggests he may be on to something – and maybe Mohamed Salah faces a similar problem.
German magazine Kicker regularly reviews active Bundesliga players on various topics. In the latest edition, one of the questions asked respondents to name the best attacker in world football today. The 252 participants overwhelmingly chose Erling Haaland as the best around, with 52 percent of the vote.
Then comes Kevin De Bruyne, with 14.3 percent. Kylian Mbappé got 13.1 percent of the vote, and Vinícius Júnior got 7.9 percent. ‘Other’ or ‘no answer’ was the next most popular response, with Lionel Messi and Karim Benzema also receiving a statistically significant number of votes.
Of course, the Bundesliga does not necessarily indicate the entire pool of professional players. Both Haaland and De Bruyne have won the league in the past, and most defenses are still scarred from trying to deal with the Norwegian in particular. But the fact that Salah or Kane are nowhere to be seen will be a concern for the two players who have their eyes on the biggest prize like the Ballon d’Or.
Even with the upcoming African Cup of Nations, it’s hard to see Salah putting together a real case for the award next season. He is clearly starting from a low base of recognition among a number of fellow pros, and essentially will not have a Champions League platform. Notably two Manchester City players topped the Kicker vote, having just claimed club football’s biggest prize.
But Liverpool can make a realistic case with Salah that he is in the best place to eventually make a Ballon d’Or or two. Even next season, a Premier League title and the Europa League and AFCON success will get him back into the conversation, even if winning is a long shot. Beyond that, there is hope that Jürgen Klopp’s side will return to the Champions League, where they have reached three of the last six finals.
In recent seasons, Virgil van Dijk and Sadio Mané have both finished second in the Ballon d’Or stakes, based on their performances at Liverpool. It would not be delusional for Salah to believe he can claim the prize at Anfield.
Can the same be said for Kane at Spurs? If he stays, he won’t have any kind of European competition next season. The club is embarking on another new regime under Ange Postecoglou, and while it offers a lot of promise, it will also take time. Turning 30 this summer, the English marksman may not have the luxury of waiting.
In a perfect world, he would no doubt stay at Spurs and lead them to glory, earning all the personal acclaim he deserves in the process. But he had heard that pitch before, and nothing happened. Liverpool could make a more convincing case with Salah, who will be keen to ascend to the very top of the sport by the time he leaves.
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