In a season of mixed fortunes so far at Tottenham Hotspur, perhaps the only consistent spectacle has been Harry Kane’s ability to find the net as he chases the club’s goal-scoring record.
Losses to Arsenal and Manchester City left Tottenham facing a battle for top-four finishes – but Kane approaches Monday’s game at Fulham with 265 goals, just one short of Jimmy Greaves’ 1970 milestone.
The striker’s place in their history is beyond doubt, but there have been new questions about what the future holds after recent reports linked him to a summer move to Manchester United.
Kane is entering the final 18 months of his contract and no negotiations over new terms have taken place since August 2021, when a potential switch to Manchester City fell through.
The 29-year-old England captain then continued to admirably lead the line and consistently find the goal, bringing his game into sharp focus once again.
Kane’s participation in the World Cup and Tottenham’s focus on the January transfer window limited the opportunity for talks between the two sides. But talks are planned for once the winter market closes and, if conditions are right, he’s open to signing a new deal.
How Spurs’ campaign ends – they’re still in the Champions League and FA Cup – as well as their recruitment and chances of success are sure to be major factors. While Kane’s offer will carry obvious significance, Tottenham’s plans and ambitions have always been central to his thinking.
It is well documented that Kane’s desire would be to win trophies at Tottenham and he is said to be focused on doing that in the coming months rather than leaving. Despite all of the cast talking to their players’ potential suitors, Kane hasn’t had serious discussions about coming out.
If no deal is reached soon, Tottenham will need to decide whether they are looking to sell Kane or let their prized assets go into his final year knowing he could leave for a free in 2024.
The striker’s attitude towards extending his career in north London is likely to be welcomed by the Tottenham hierarchy and fanbase, especially amid the uncertainty surrounding manager Antonio Conte’s situation. The Italian’s contract expires in June, although there is an option to extend it.
Tom Keane leaves the Manchester United role
Tom Keane, who assisted Manchester United’s summer business as head of football’s loan negotiations, was expected to return to the club for longer spells, but has instead returned to law firm Brandsmith.
Kane came on as a substitute for Matt Judge last June and worked on deals for Casemiro and Anthony in the summer, and traveled to Spain with director of football John Murtaugh to agree terms with the Real Madrid midfielder.
His 11-week appointment expired when the window closed, but after he was judged a good fit, talks took place about appointing him to the full-time position.
However, uncertainty over United’s owners has changed plans, with some dates on hold while the Glazers go through a sale that could see a huge change at Old Trafford. The club is still looking to fill this role between now and the summer window.
Keane was not involved in United’s January action, with clients who placed calls to him about potential targets being referred to Murtaugh, his deputy Andy O’Boyle and chief of recruitment operations Steve Brown. His departure also suggests that United never expected to do much business in the winter window as they prefer summer windows and also have the potential to sell which restricts their spending.
It was Murtough with a group of solicitors and other recruiters who completed the loan transfer for both Wout Weghorst and Jack Butland. Ken has returned to Brandsmiths, where he specializes in the legal side of sports contracts.
Chelsea came close to scoring in the US Championship
Premier League teams spend pre-season in the US happening a long time ago, but as I revealed the athlete Last year, those games will have an added advantage next summer.
Instead of one-off fixtures, a handful of clubs will be taking part in the tournament, and the organizers are now confident they have their first ‘Big Six’ team on board.
Chelsea, whose owners are Americans, are very likely to be involved, which is a major achievement with other leading teams choosing what they consider to be better options for the summer.
Exact plans, timings and venues for the competition are still being worked out – as are confirmed teams – but there is confidence that they will come together soon. And Tottenham, who toured South Korea last summer, are considering joining the competition.
Chelsea spent their last pre-season in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Orlando and Charlotte. Arsenal, Manchester City, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus were among those touring the US last summer, with more than 60,000 fans attending some matches. The US market is crucial to British clubs as they look to expand their fan bases and take advantage of the international appeal of the English Premier League.
Fresnida to choose between Arsenal and Dortmund
Guillermo Rey reports Valladolid’s in-demand right-back Ivan Fresenda, 18, will make a decision on his next team on Monday.
Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund have both agreed terms for the player, for a fee of €15m ($16.2m; £13.1m), with Fresenda loaned out to the Spanish side for the rest of this season.
A fullback who relies a lot on his technical qualities, Fresnida excels in his good ball control and attacking ability, while rarely showing weakness in his defensive duties. A host of other clubs have been following the Spain Under-19 international, including Newcastle, who have since withdrawn from the race.
Brighton Matvienko goal in London
Brighton & Hove Albion maintained their impressive run under Roberto De Zerbi with a draw at Leicester City on Saturday that saw them climb to sixth in the table.
This pushes them firmly into contention to qualify for Europe, which would be a remarkable achievement for a club that gained promotion to the Premier League in 2017 and not only sold some of their best players, but also lost out to Graham Potter and his staff in September.
What do you read next The athlete…
Brighton’s rise shows no sign of abating and De Zerby will hope the January transfer market can be used to keep his side on a positive trajectory.
As reported in this October column, no sooner had De Zerbi arrived at the Amex Stadium than Shakhtar Donetsk centre-back targeted Mykola Matviyenko as a potential winter recruit.
Although Brighton were aware of the Ukraine international, he was not recognized through their widely popular scouting system, and instead this was a candidate for De Zerby to pursue.
Brighton have since inquired about the 26-year-old, and although they don’t want to pay the €25m demanded by Shakhtar, De Zerby is pressuring his board to work out a deal.
Matvienko is currently in London, where he has a family, where the Shakhtar team has two days off.
The trip is not specifically related to a possible change, but discussions about a reunion with De Zerby are expected to continue in England.
The pair have worked together at Shakhtar and De Zerby is keen to boost Matviyenko’s status, a desire that may have increased after the thigh muscle injury sustained by in-form Levi Colwell.
Colwell joined Brighton on loan from Chelsea and has become a regular starter, but his absence and an expected return to Stamford Bridge in the summer mean reinforcements have been considered and Matviyenko is the candidate De Zerby wants.
Newcastle love McTominay but won’t get him in January
Newcastle United held talks over a Scott McTominay move in January, but any transfer is expected to wait until the summer, with Manchester United unwilling to sell in this window, writes Laurie Whitwell.
Eddie Howe was looking for a new midfielder and admired McTominay’s play and ability to carry the ball.
United were aware of interest from Newcastle last summer and McTominay has come under consideration again at St James’ Park this winter given the 26-year-old’s place behind Casemiro in Erik ten Hag’s squad.
McTominay will be a key midfielder for Howe, while at Old Trafford players need to be sold to boost Ten Hag’s spending capacity, with UEFA’s financial fair play rules in line.
Sources insist there will be no sales in the closing days of the window, as there is limited time to reinvest and Ten Hag sees McTominay as a valued member of his team.
But given Newcastle’s continued appreciation of McTominay and the strained financial picture at United, a reassessment of the situation is set for in the summer.