By Rohith Nair
(Reuters) – Harry Kane was once seen as a “one-season wonder” when he burst onto the scene for Tottenham Hotspur in 2014 but as the England captain leaves to ply his trade abroad for the first time in his career, the Premier League bids goodbye to one of its greatest.
Kane signed a four-year contract with Bayern Munich on Saturday in a deal reportedly worth 100 million euros ($109.44 million), leaving boyhood club Spurs after a protracted transfer saga.
When then-Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino took a gamble in 2014 on 21-year-old Kane, who grew up in London, little did he know the striker’s name would echo around the club’s stadium to the chorus of “He’s one of our own” for years to come.
Nearly a decade later, with 280 goals in 435 appearances for Tottenham — which includes three Premier League Golden Boots for top scorer of the season — Kane departs as the north London club’s all-time leading scorer.
“One season wonder,” Kane wrote in a tongue-in-cheek social media post after he broke the club record held by England great Jimmy Greaves for more than half a century.
Kane is also the England team’s all-time top scorer with 58 goals and is undoubtedly the first name on manager Gareth Southgate’s team sheet.
But despite the personal accolades, the 30-year-old has no trophies in his cabinet apart from three Spurs runners-up medals — one in the Champions League and two in the League Cup.
Tottenham were in contention for the Premier League title in the 2015-2016 but ended up third behind Leicester City and Arsenal. The next season they finished second behind Chelsea and in 2019 lost the Champions League final to Liverpool.
In between two more Champions League campaigns, Spurs played the Europa League and then the third-tier Conference League.
In the meantime, the seemingly irreplaceable Kane has been in his prime, averaging over 30 goals a season in the past three years and adding the playmaker role to his repertoire.
ONE OF THE GREATEST
With Spurs falling behind England’s elite clubs, it seemed Kane might go down as one of the greatest players to never win a trophy.
And so the 30-year-old striker, who signed two long-term contract extensions with Spurs in the past — the last being a six-year deal in 2018 — finally decided to make a move.
Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy proved to be difficult to negotiate with when he refused to allow Kane to join champions Manchester City in 2021.
But this time Levy had no choice, with a year left on Kane’s contract — either cash in now or risk losing his lethal striker next year for free, potentially to an English rival.
The move to Bayern increases Kane’s chances of winning silverware, with the German club having won the Bundesliga every year – 11 times in a row – since the English striker made his Premier League debut.
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE CONSISTENCY
Bayern’s consistency in the Champions League, where deep runs are par for the course, is something that will challenge Kane as a player who wants to challenge the elite in Europe rather than making up the numbers in the competition.
Ultimately, Kane has taken Spurs’ motto of “To dare is to do” to heart by moving overseas, which has often been the exception rather than the norm for English players.
His only regret may be that the Premier League record for most goals may end up out of reach as he leaves England 47 shy of Alan Shearer’s record 260.
Kane will now hope to experience the sort of success enjoyed by his former team mate Gareth Bale, who left Tottenham in 2013 for Real Madrid as the then most expensive player of all time and went on to win five Champions League titles.
($1 = 0.9137 euros)
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Pritha Sarkar)