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Harry Kane's future: The key questions as striker could leave Tottenham if they don't make top four

Could Harry Kane leave Tottenham this summer? The Spurs star is expected to ask to leave if they don't qualify for next season's Champions League. We assess the key questions around a potential move. Watch Tottenham vs Man Utd on Sunday live on Sky Sports from 4pm; kick-off 4:30pm

Harry Kane
Image: Will Harry Kane still be a Tottenham player next season?

Harry Kane's future has hit the headlines, with the striker expected to tell Tottenham he wants to leave if they fail to qualify for the Champions League next season. But why would he want to move, how much would he cost - and would Spurs even let him go?

The Tottenham star will turn 28 in July and it is understood he is becoming increasingly concerned at Tottenham's failure to compete for major trophies.

Sky Sports News reporter Paul Gilmour, who covers Tottenham, appeared on this week's Pitch to Post Preview Podcast and explained why the top-four race and Spurs' Carabao Cup final against Manchester City later in April could be pivotal to the next steps the club makes.

Here, we examine why the outcome of the run-in could have serious ramifications for Kane's future - and the different aspects around any potential move...

What has Kane said - and why would he want to leave?

Speculation about Kane's future began to gather pace at the start of lockdown last summer when, during an interview with Sky Sports' Jamie Redknapp on Instagram, the Spurs striker gave an intriguing answer when he was asked whether he would be at Tottenham for the rest of his career.

"It's one of those things, I couldn't say yes, I couldn't say no," he said. "I love Spurs, I'll always love Spurs. But it's one of those things - I've always said if I don't feel we're progressing as a team or going in the right direction, then I'm not someone to just stay there for the sake of it."

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Gabby Agbonlahor told Super Sunday Matchday he is not surprised that Kane will ask to leave Spurs this summer if they fail to qualify for the Champions League

With Tottenham ultimately finishing another trophyless season in sixth place in the Premier League, there was pressure to show those signs of progress in the 2020/21 season, Jose Mourinho's first full campaign in charge.

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The success of this season, however, remains on a knife-edge. Tottenham could finish in the top four and win the Carabao Cup final. Or they could miss out on qualifying for Champions League football once again and extend their trophy drought into a 14th year.

"It's a hard thing to take as a player," Kane told Redknapp about Spurs' near misses in recent seasons. "I want to win at everything I do so when we're coming close and you don't quite get there it's hard to take and starts to build up."

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Asked during the March international break about whether speculation over his future could have affect his performances, Kane insisted he remained focused - but didn't take the opportunity to make any long-term commitments to Spurs.

"I'm fully focussed on doing the job on the pitch from now until the end of the summer," he said at a press conference. "Then we'll see where we go from there."

Kane has twice won the Premier League Golden Boot with Spurs and is on course for a third, with his 19 strikes this season making him top scorer so far.

However, when it comes to collective prizes, Kane only has runners-up medals from the League Cup in 2014/15 and the Champions League in 2018/19.

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Tottenham's success - or not - in the final weeks of the season will be an important factor in his thinking and Kane will also have to weigh up whether Spurs will kick-on again next season to become challengers for the major trophies.

As he's said himself, if those signs of progress aren't there, then he has a decision to make.

Will Tottenham finish in the top four?

If Tottenham can upset the odds and beat Manchester City in a one-off Wembley final, it would be a sweet moment for Kane and some reward for the years of near-misses he's experienced in that white shirt. But perhaps even more than that game on April 25, it seems Spurs' status as a Champions League club could hold the key to Kane's next step. Qualifying for Europe's elite club competition would give Spurs the platform - in terms of the players they could recruit - to reach for the major trophies. So what is the prospect of Spurs making the top four?

As it stands going into the weekend, Spurs are three points off fourth-placed West Ham with eight games to go.

Tottenham Hotspur boss Jose Mourinho gives instructions to substitute Harry Kane
Image: Tottenham face a pivotal run-in to the season, with the top-four race on and a Carabao Cup final in April

They blew a chance to move into fourth for a short period during the previous round of matches when they let a 2-1 lead slip at relegation-threatened Newcastle but remain in a strong position.

However, while making up that small deficit on their surprise-package London rivals is more than possible, Spurs and West Ham aren't alone in battling to make the cut.

Chelsea are in fifth and, despite a shock defeat at home to West Brom last Saturday, have been in exceptional form under new boss Thomas Tuchel. Their impressive midweek win over Porto in the Champions League suggested they had quickly recovered from that West Brom loss and they are just a point off the Hammers.

Level with Tottenham on 49 points are Liverpool. Jurgen Klopp's defending champions have been riddled by inconsistency all season which makes their run-in results hard to predict - but there's no question they have the quality to make up the gap themselves.

And then there is Everton, who have a game in hand on the rest, which, if they won it, would propel them right into the mix, too. While third-placed Leicester look in a handy position, their status is far from assured as well, meaning Spurs are effectively in a six-way fight for two Champions League qualifying spots behind Manchester City and Manchester United.

This Sunday's home match with Manchester United could give us a clear sign of Tottenham's chances of winning that battle, while they could lay a blow on a rival for the top four in Everton on Friday. Their final-day trip to Leicester could be a decisive climax to the season.

What's his contract situation?

Kane signed his current contract with Spurs ahead of the 2018 World Cup. It's a deal which ties him to the club until 2024.

Tottenham had just finished third in the Premier League and reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup under former boss Mauricio Pochettino when Kane - who had scored 30 Premier League goals that previous season - put pen to paper.

"I'm looking forward to the future," Kane said after making the six-year commitment. "It's been fantastic to consistently get in the Champions League so I'm really excited to have another go at that, and with the Premier League and FA Cup, we'll look to go as far as we can."

With three years still to run on his contract, it won't be easy - or cheap - for any buying club to prise him out of Tottenham.

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Former Tottenham midfielder Jamie O'Hara says he expects Kane to leave the club this summer, with Manchester City his likely destination

How much would he cost, who would be in the running, and would Daniel Levy sell him?

So how much would it cost to sign a player of Kane's calibre? That question is a tricky one to answer - and even harder amid a pandemic which has badly hit football club finances across the world. It's a number senior figures at major clubs in Europe will be weighing up.

Paris Saint-Germain signed the world's two most expensive players, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, for around £198m and £163m, respectively. Will clubs be prepared to shell out a figure north of £150m this summer, given the financial hit they've taken since the emergence of this coronavirus?

It seems unlikely and, while Kane seems a guarantee of goals, at the age of 28 clubs will be buying him knowing they stand little chance of making a profit at the other end of the deal with his sell-on value probable to reduce with age.

Interestingly, a study released in January by CIES Football Observatory valued Kane at £97m.

If that figure is a reasonable starting point, then it narrows the number of clubs who could make that type of financial commitment.

Domestically, Manchester United and Chelsea have shown they are prepared to invest large sums in the current environment. Both clubs could also do with a central striker in the mould of Kane. Manchester City and Liverpool appear to also need strengthening in that area of the pitch - although, they have both tried to downplay how much they could spend in the upcoming window.

In terms of foreign clubs, Real Madrid and Barcelona have a history of attracting Premier League stars but the financial status of both clubs is perhaps not as commanding as it once was, while their standard of play has also dipped in recent seasons. But still, the attraction of one of those La Liga giants remains.

PSG and Bayern Munich are Europe's two other big-spending sides but with Neymar and Mbappe playing in Paris, and Robert Lewandowski scoring extraordinary numbers of goals in Munich, their need for a striker isn't as apparent.

Image: Kane has 45 goal involvements across all competitions this season - the joint-most he's recorded in a single campaign

Of course, all of this could prove immaterial if Spurs chairman Daniel Levy - the notoriously tough negotiator - decides he doesn't want to even consider selling Kane.

Tottenham have always insisted Kane is not for sale.

It is hard to imagine the relationship between the Spurs hierarchy and their homegrown star striker deteriorating if they start to pull in different directions but, if Kane does express a desire to leave, Levy is unlikely to make that exit an easy one for any club that would swoop in.

When will a decision be made?

Kane will not make a final decision on his future until after this summer's European Championships with England.

However, Tottenham's finish to the season is likely to be affected by Tottenham's results during the run-in to this season.

It's a developing story - and one which is set to run for some time yet. The world of football will be watching closely…

Pitch to Post Preview: Tottenham vs Man Utd and a decisive month for Spurs; Inconsistent Liverpool, and West Ham vs Leicester's key top-four clash

In this week's Pitch to Post Preview Podcast Peter Smith is joined by Sky Sports News reporter Paul Gilmour who explains why April could be a decisive month for Tottenham's next steps as a club, while Sky Sports football writer Jack Wilkinson reacts to Man Utd's Europa League win and assesses their chances of getting some revenge for their big defeat to Spurs earlier this season.

Sky Sports features writer Nick Wright is also on the show, looking back at two contrasting performances from Liverpool and the reasons behind their inconsistency, as well as previewing a big top-four race clash between surprise package West Ham and Leicester. He also makes his Pitch for the weekend about an important game at the other end of the table between Burnley and Newcastle.

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