It was nearly 10 years ago, back in the autumn of 2014, that Harry Kane was given a handful of appearances from the bench for Tottenham, starting the occasional Europa League game.
So good was Kane in those Europa League games that Mauricio Pochettino had no choice but to start Kane in the league, too.
His first full campaign for Spurs saw him score 21 goals – a fantastic return, and even more impressive when you remember that it wasn’t until November when Kane made his first start and scored his first goal. Fans quickly realised they were seeing a special centre forward. Kane would reach his first final months later in the League Cup, but would only finish with a runners-up medal.
Kane would have to wait four more years for another crack at glory, and it was in a Champions League final Tottenham never looked like winning. Two years after that, Kane would get his third and final chance at silverware with Tottenham, losing in another League Cup final, this time to Manchester City.
The Euro 2020 final a few months later almost rubbed salt in the wounds; Kane had never won a domestic honour but was 25 minutes away from an international trophy. But whether with club or country, silverware would elude Kane.
Much lesser players than Kane have much fuller trophy cabinets as a circumstance of where they’re employed and it would have been cruel to deny Kane the chance – the nigh-on certainty, even – to finish his career with major honours.
Kane had tried to leave for Manchester City a couple of years prior, but his loyalty towards Tottenham Hotspur cannot be questioned.
Remember that for a long time, people actually, earnestly discussed whether it was worth Kane staying in North London for the opportunity to break Alan Shearer’s Premier League record as opposed to moving abroad.
In 12 months’ time the suggestion may look even more risible than it does at the moment.
A few years ago, when Real Madrid were moving on from the Cristiano Ronaldo era, Kane moving to the Spanish capital made a lot of sense; he’d look good in Real white. As it happens, he looks equally appropriate in Bayern red. With no disrespect to Tottenham, a player of Harry Kane’s calibre has to be playing for one of the giants of the game.
We’ve spent the best part of a decade watching Robert Lewandowski plunder goals for the German giants, but it was hard to assess how much of the Pole’s goal tally was because of him and how much of it was because of Bayern. His absence last season answered that question. The experiment to play Sadio Mane as a centre-forward didn’t really work, and the gulf in class between Lewandowski and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting was never more apparent than during the Champions League tie with Erling Haaland-led Manchester City.
Though Bayern were good enough to have goals from all over the pitch – five players reached double figures in all competitions last season – a world class centre forward was sorely needed if the Bavarians were to contest for European honours again.
Enter: Harry Kane.
There are no guarantees of success anywhere in football, but moving to Bayern feels about as sure a thing as there is.
His debut would be the 12th consecutive appearance for Bayern in the DFL-Supercup, and while it may only be the German equivalent of the Community Shield, it was a perfect chance to get his hands on some silverware.
Naturally, having won six of the last seven Supercups, Kane’s debut coincided with a 3-0 defeat to RB Leipzig.
Concerningly for Kane and Bayern, they find themselves in a real scrap for the title this season, and while they’re still odds-on for the title at 4/5, they’re now seven points behind a sumptuous Bayer Leverkusen, guided by Xabi Alonso who are chasing an unlikely treble. Bayern do have a game in hand, but suffered a shock defeat at the weekend that leaves them with lots of work to do, and this isn’t the fight Kane signed up for.
While Bayern haven’t been as dominant in the DFB-Pokal as they have the league – failing to reach the final in any of the last three years – the shock loss to third-tier FC Saarbrucken, where Leroy Sane, Joshua Kimmich, Thomas Muller, Kim Min-jae, Alphonso Davies, Matthijs de Ligt and Manuel Neuer all started, was another blow to Kane’s trophy ambitions.
Of course, from a personal level, Kane could hardly have contributed more. Initially priced at 16/1 to break Lewandowski’s 41-goal record, Kane matched Lewandowski’s half-season tally of 22 goals with a game to spare and is now 2/1 to hit 42 or more.
I think we all fancied Kane to score goals in Germany, but the way he’s hit the ground running with 22 goals from his first 16 Bundesliga matches has made a mockery of our 16/1 pre-season quote for 42 or more.
Lewandowski had the same tally after 16 games in his record-breaking season, but worryingly for the prolific Pole, Kane is still finding his feet and might be able to move up a gear or two in the second part of the campaign.
- bet365's Steve Freeth
While another Golden Boot will look nice on the mantle – Kane is 1/20 for top scorer – it’s not what Kane is in Germany for.
When outsiders cited the Champions League as a reason for Kane’s move, critics fairly pointed out that there’s no guarantee Kane will win the competition – indeed, Bayern have only made one final in 10 years – but he’s assured of four decent cracks at it.
Bayern’s squad is one littered with talent, from the central defensive pairing of Dayot Upemecano and Kim Min-jae that’s limited Matthijs de Ligt to just four starts this season, the marauding Alphonso Davies at left-back, the captain-in-waiting Joshua Kimmich playing alongside Leon Goretzka in midfield, then there’s the wealth of attacking talents in Jamal Musiala, Serge Gnabry, Thomas Muller, and Leroy Sane. Kane is the final piece of the puzzle.
Of course, cup competitions aren’t necessarily won by the best team and there will always be an element of luck involved, but the Champions League has been won by one of Barcelona, Bayern Munich or Real Madrid in eight of the last 11 seasons, creating something of a closed shop that Manchester City are keen to break into. But Bayern couldn’t have put themselves in a better position and it’s only a 7/1 shot that they win the Bundesliga and Champions League.
Picture Harry Kane in May, the Bundesliga Meisterschale in his hands and a medal around his neck, going on to lift the Champions League weeks later. And things could get much better from there.
England are 7/2 joint-favourites for Euro 2024 and while people call for Gareth Southgate’s head, feeling he’s wasting England’s most talented side arguably since 1966, it can take time for managers to get things right at international level.
Germany endured years of heartache under Joachim Low, reaching just one final – and losing that – in his first three international tournaments before finally winning the World Cup. Didier Deschamps’ France were dumped out of the 2014 World Cup at the quarter-final stage, losing the Euro 2016 final – a tournament they should’ve won – before going one better at the 2018 World Cup.
England could well have beaten France on another day at the 2022 World Cup and would’ve fancied themselves in the semi-final with Morocco.
There are slight concerns defensively, but Southgate’s system masks them, and a potential midfield three of Declan Rice, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Jude Bellingham is arguably the best in the tournament.
Jude Bellingham is the current 3/1 favourite for the Ballon d’Or having taken La Liga by storm, but regardless of what happens at the Euros, a Champions League win could see Kane favourite, and he’s only 4/1 now.
There are a lot of ifs and buts, but it’s well within the realms of possibility that after the decade of disappointment that Kane wins the Bundesliga, Champions League, Euro 2024 and Ballon d’Or – do that and he’s a shoo-in to finish the year with a Sports Personality of the Year gong (currently 8/1 joint-favourite).
Sports Personality of the Year may be a long way down the list of Kane’s targets, especially in comparison to what he could win with England and Bayern Munch, but 10 years since breaking through into the Spurs first team, it would be a nice way bookend the decade and wrap up 2024: the year of Harry Kane.
All odds correct at time of publishing and subject to fluctuation.