TUESDAY'S BIG STORIES
Spurs legend heads for exit
Raiola plans Haaland talks with Man City in January – Paper Round
It’s finally happening.
And Tottenham are reportedly resigned to letting their England man leave.
But at least they’ll get £1m for him, with Joe Hart set to put pen to paper on a Celtic move this week.
Ba-dum tss and all that.
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Hart’s departure will hurt Spurs more in the training-ground cricket matches than it will out on the pitch.
But the prospect of Harry Kane leaving for Manchester City…? Well, that’s a different matter.
It is no exaggeration to say that Kane is already in contention to be considered the greatest Spurs player of all time.
But Monday’s news that he has effectively gone on strike to force a move away from the club adds a sour taste to a transfer story that was always coming.
And it’s Tottenham’s fault that they are in this position.
The last three years at the club have been a chaotic mess, created in no small part by chairman Daniel Levy, and with Kane’s brilliance merely papering over the cracks as the side slipped away from the top table of English football.
And now, unsurprisingly, Kane wants to leave.
Tottenham are said to be sticking to their guns and are surprised by the nature of Kane’s actions. But they shouldn’t be. This is exactly what the Spurs board deserves.
Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy
Image credit: Getty Images
The problem for Kane is that he has an extremely weak hand. Players have gone on strike before, they’ve made their position extremely well known and tried to force a move.
In fact, it’s happened repeatedly at Spurs, which probably says all you need to know about the reliability of these ‘gentleman’s agreements’ that Levy is said to make.
This time it’s Kane following the well-trodden north London path that Dimitar Berbatov, Robbie Keane, Luka Modric and Gareth Bale have previously strolled down.
But Kane’s situation is slightly different. Those players hadn’t tied themselves to a mammoth six-year deal.
And that, unfortunately for the England captain, is the crux of the issue. Spurs knew that Kane wanted to leave well before this current unpleasantness. But they also know that their talisman will be worth a pretty packet next year too, so the pressure to cut their asking price isn’t as great as it might have been.
Will Kane get his move this summer? Probably. Make that definitely if Man City actually stump up the cash. But that was likely true even before this refusal to return to training, an action that probably succeeds more in damaging the player’s reputation than it does in greasing the transfer wheels.
That’s certainly the view of at least one of British television’s leading football pundits.
At least one positive to come out of this whole sorry mess will be Carra and Rio’s meteoric engagement numbers.
That’s something, right?
City to withdraw bid for Kane?
So that’s Kane’s value halved then. Etc. etc. LOL.
Although seemingly dry at a surface level, this story could actually be quite significant if the referees keep up their end of this bargain.
One of the underlying reasons why there is so much of what the Americans term ‘flopping’ in football is that refs very really give fouls unless a player goes to ground.
But anyone who’s ever played the game, even to the stumbling calamitous standard of this writer, knows that you can absolutely be fouled and remain upright.
If officials actually start punishing foul play before a player goes to ground, then we may actually get the seismic shift in behaviour that the game is crying out for.
But that is a huge if. What we will likely get is more players punished for grey area ‘dives’ that may in fact have been fouls.
So that’s something to look forward to in the new season.
IN OTHER NEWS
Are the Olympics too easy and too small for women's soccer?
That was the question asked by an ESPN feature ahead of USA’s bid for a fourth gold medal in the last five Games.
The argument that the article made was that there was “not a ton of competition” awaiting the USWNT in Japan.
But, as it turns out, maybe the women’s game has greater strength in depth than America first thought.
Monday’s semi-final loss to their northerly neighbours means that the USA will take home no better than a bronze from Tokyo, having won just one of their five tournament matches in standard time, and failing to score in three of those.
It took a penalty shootout win to get the USA to the last four, and a dismal group showing that contained a 3-0 humiliation by Sweden and a drab goalless draw with Australia was a looooong way from being “too easy”.
Arrogant is an easy tag to throw at the American soccer squad. But in this case ESPN have done them absolutely no favours.
Few would have known what was to come when Harry Kane tucked home this, his first Premier League goal for Spurs seven years ago.
It wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see him replicate a very similar sort of finish on the end of a whipped Kevin de Bruyne cross if he does indeed move to City.
It’s not easy to find a fresh angle on Harry Kane’s transfer saga, as this Warm-Up perhaps shows.
But Eurosport’s feature-writer extraordinaire Peter Sharland has given it his best shot on this very site, penning an interesting piece that draws parallels with both Raheem Sterling and NBA superstar Kevin Durant.
Durant and Sterling were both lambasted for not trying to win it all with the team that put faith in them and developed them. Yet years down the line there are few who would argue that they made the wrong choice, as they’ve both won big and have improved as both players and people. They did what they thought was best for their careers, and Kane is doing the exact same.
You can read more of Pete ‘The Scribe’ Sharland’s thoughts HERE.
The Champions League qualifying rounds continue this evening, and the third round has thrown up some peachy ties. Steven Gerrard's impressive Rangers travel to Malmo in one of the highlights, while Celtic’s conquerors Midtjylland visit PSV Eindhoven. It is also men’s semi-final day at the Tokyo Olympics, although by the time you read this the results may already be in. Mexico face Brazil at 9am BST before hosts Japan play Spain at midday.
And remember of course that you can watch those games and every other unmissable moment live from Tokyo 2020 across Eurosport and the Eurosport app.
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According to the schedule, ‘Tom Bennett’ will be here with tomorrow's Warm-Up. I best keep the alarm set for 5am in that case. Catch you in the morning.
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