Harry Kane – Tottenham Hotspurs :
As with most Modern-Day Strikers, Harry Kane is not an out and out No. 9. He is a great scorer of goals. However, he his not just that. He is a great team player and assists his team-mates in scoring a bucket load of goals. His link up play with Son Heung-Min has been tearing apart rival defences for the last few seasons.
However, due to lack of trophies and Spurs’ failure to qualify for the Champions League for the past 2 seasons, it has been reported that Kane is frustrated and is looking forward to playing for a big club competing for major honours. He has been eyed up by the PL Champions Manchester City and was even close to completing a move there at the beginning of this season.
Manchester United , Chelsea, you name the club, everyone seems to be wanting Harry Kane. So what makes Harry Kane so special and how do Spurs’ replace a player of his caliber? For an interesting discussion, please continue reading 😊
Harry Kane- What makes him Special?
Ever Since Kane started plying his wares for Spurs in the English Premier League from the 2014–15 season, his star has been on the rise. Starting with 21 goals and 4 assists in his first full season for Spurs, his improvement and increasing contribution to the team’s cause are plain for all to see. His Goal Contributions for the next season was 26-his 25 goals ensuring that he won his first golden boot, while in 2016–17 he had his best season in terms of Goal Contributions so far with 36(29 Goals and 7 assists), which led him to his second consecutive golden boot.
Kane was now becoming one of the most feared strikers across Europe and his demand was only increasing season on season. This peaked during the 2017–18 PL season and according to transfermarkt, Harry Kane was at the top of the Transfer Market in terms of fees. His goal output was his best ever with 30 goals. This was followed by two below par seasons by his world-class standards, although he still contributed 21 & 20 Goal Contributions respectively where he was blighted by injuries in the latter.
If anyone thought that he was a finished article, Kane bounced back to silence his doubters. And How!! He reclaimed the Golden Boot-His third and also won the playmaker of the season- the third ever player to win both the awards in the same seasons. He had his best ever season in terms of goal contributions with 37(23 Goals & 14 Assists).
Although he hasn’t had the best of seasons this season(2021–22), he still remains the heart beat of this Spurs side that are pushing for a first CL place in 3 seasons after a very poor start under Nuno. Conte has been raving about Kane and it remains to be seen if a CL qualification convinces Kane to stay rather than moving to a club where he is guaranteed to pick up trophies.
Looking at the Goal Contributions over the last 6 seasons by the Top-Shooters in the Top 5 Leagues(EPL, Seria A, Bundesliga, La Liga & Ligue 1), we can see that Harry Kane stands out. Looking at the numbers in more details, we can see that in the last completed season(2020–21), he has become more of a team player contributing 14 assists, while scoring 23 goals himself.
The next Harry Kane
Leaving out the Messi’s , Ronaldo’s, Salah’s ,Lewandowski’s et all of the footballing world in our search for a similar player who would be a like to like replacement for Kane, we have some very interesting options.
We start off with Timo Werner — for long touted as the future of German Football and now plying his wares at Chelsea. For the period from 14–15 to 19–20 , he has very similar stats to Harry Kane. However, his move to the Premier League last season seems to have affected him and he seems a different footballer to the one who was tearing up defences in the Bundesliga. This drought of scoring and assisting has continued into this season as well.
Next Up is Vinícius Júnior, the young starlet who has set the La Liga alight this season with some stunning displays in the whites of Real Madrid. Looking at his numbers, although he has been a part of Madrid since the 2018–19 season, it is this season that he has made a breakthrough, both in terms scoring and creating goals- moving from an out and out winger to someone who can play anywhere across the front line and does better on all counts when looking at his performances alongside those of Harry Kane this season.
At just 21 years of age, he has tremendous potential and would be a great replacement for Kane. However, considering the fact that he is from Brazil where Real Madrid-Barcelona are considered as dream clubs for anyone growing up, joining Spurs’ would not seem to be an attractive option.
Let us now move on to more feasible options -starting with Lautaro Martínez and Memphis Depay. Martinez signed for Inter from Racing Club before the 2018–19 season, where he has rated highly by then manager Mauricio Pochettino who called him as one of the best strikers in the world. Although he took some time to find his feet at Inter, from the 2019–20 season he has been on fire. Initially teaming up with Lukaku and now with Dzeko, he has been a revelation.
Possessing good link-up play, defensive contribution, and an ability to drop deep off the ball to either press opponents or drag them out of position, he is also a highly creative and hard-working player, who is capable of assisting goals as well as scoring them himself; as such, he is also able to play as a second striker, in addition to his usual role as either a centre-forward or out–and–out striker.
Taking his leadership qualities into account and considering that he is only 24 years of age, he has a long and bright future ahead of him. Looking at his ambition and winners’ mentality, he would be a perfect fit for Tottenham. Spurs’ should look at signing him up as soon as possible!!
Let us now look at Memphis Depay. He has matured from a brash, selfish person to a matured team player. Now carrying the Dutch’ World-Cup hopes on his shoulders, Barcelona were tracking him for a long time and finally signed him at the start of this season. Looking at Memphis’ career, he has seen it all from being a Euro U-17 winner to being a hot property while playing for PSV in the Eredivisie and shining in the 2014 World Cup; he was a flop at Manchester United and had his career revitalized at France, playing for Lyon after which he finally signed for Barcelona.
His numbers from his time at France compare favourably with those of Harry Kane, even if his goal through-put is slightly lesser. His stats from the last completed season: 2020–21 are almost a replica of Harry Kane’s. His good showing has continued at Barcelona this season. At the age of 27 and having the experience of a veteran, Depay would be a good signing for Spurs’.
Shouldering the weight of a Nation-much Like Harry Kane for England, the man who has seen it all and done it all would be an ideal fir for Tottenham. Considering that his time at Manchester left a lot to be desired, he would be eager to prove himself in the Premier League and show that he has what it take to be a marksman of the highest quality in the best league in the World.
Finally, let us look at someone who may not be at the forefront of many pundits’ minds when it comes to looking for a Harry Kane replacement — Michail Antonio. Antonio has had it the hard way coming up from the non-league ranks to play for the Hammers from the 2016–17 season onwards. He has slowly, but steadily seen his star rise and is now an Intergral part of the Jamaica National Side after making his debut for them last year.
Antonio has put in steady performances ever since his debut for West Ham. After winning the Hammer of the Year award in his second season with West Ham[2016–17], Antonio has continued to put in a good shift for the Team. Antonio is a player who has been touted for his versatility throughout his time at West Ham.
Antonio has played as a right back, right midfielder, winger and striker throughout his years at the club.  Towards the end of the 2019–20 season, his form- he was scoring regularly and was playing as a good hold-up man ensured that West Ham was saved from Relegation. This resulted in him winning his first ever Premier League Player of the Month for July 2020.
He continued in the same vein in 2020–21 and his per 90 stats are very similar to that of Kane’s. It is only in the Assists charts that he has some catching up to do. Antonio started this season on fire becoming West Ham’s all -time record top scorer in the Premier League era in the process. He was named as Premier League Player of the Month for August 2021-his second such award.
Looking at his stats on 26th September, with the initial part of the season under the belt, he had outscored Harry Kane on all fronts, including Build-Up play. Looking at his stats on February 4th , with almost 2/3rds of the season done, Antonio continues to outshine Harry Kane on all fronts keeping the Hammers in the top-4 race this season just like he did last season where a late flourish from Liverpool ensured that West Ham just missed out on their first ever Champions League Appearance this season by just 2 points.
Although not the youngest at 31 years of age, Antonio has vital Premier League experience and has proven himself in the toughest league in the world over the past 7 seasons. His versatility is a value add to any team and Spurs can consider him as a good alternative considering their cash crunch and their inability to compete with other big-spending Premier League Teams. Antonio would be a good short-term addition who can stabilize Spurs and provide the expertise and know-how similar to that of Kane to drive Spurs’ forward.
He also has a fantastic injury- prevention record, thereby increasing his effectiveness. Although he signed a contract with West Ham at the beginning of the year, a move to Spurs would appeal to him and would love to add to the history he has already created at Tottenham!!- Antonio scored the first goal by a visiting player at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, on 27 April 2019, as West Ham won 1–0, becoming the first away team to win at the stadium.
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