In a season of mixed fortunes so far at Tottenham Hotspur, perhaps the only consistent sight has been Harry Kane’s ability to find the net as he chases down the club’s all-time goalscoring record.
Losing to Arsenal and Manchester City left Spurs facing a battle to finish in the top four — yet Kane approaches Monday’s game at Fulham on 265 goals, one shy of Jimmy Greaves’ 1970 landmark.
The striker’s place in their history is in no doubt, but there have been fresh questions about what the future holds after recent reports linked him with a move to Manchester United this summer.
Kane has entered the final 18 months of his contract and no negotiations about fresh terms have taken place since August 2021, when a potential switch to Manchester City failed to materialise.
Following that, the 29-year-old England captain has continued to lead his side’s line impressively and find the target on a consistent basis, which brings his situation into sharp focus again.
Kane’s involvement at the World Cup and Spurs’ focus on the January transfer window has limited the opportunity for talks between the two parties of late. But conversations are planned for once the winter market shuts and, if the circumstances are right, he is open to signing a new deal.
How Tottenham’s campaign ends — they remain in the Champions League and FA Cup — as well as their recruitment and prospects of success are sure to be key factors. While the offer to Kane will carry obvious importance, Spurs’ plans and ambitions have always been central to his thinking.
It is well documented that Kane’s wish would be to win trophies at Tottenham and he is said to be focused on doing that in the coming months rather than leaving. Although all representatives speak to possible suitors for their players, Kane’s have not held serious discussions over an exit.
If an agreement cannot be reached soon, Tottenham will need to decide whether they look to sell Kane or let their prized asset go into his last year knowing he could leave for free in 2024.
The attacker’s stance towards prolonging his career in north London is likely to be welcomed by the Spurs hierarchy and fanbase, especially amid uncertainty surrounding the status of head coach Antonio Conte. The Italian’s contract expires in June, although there is an option to extend.
Tom Keane leaves Manchester United role
Tom Keane, who assisted Manchester United’s summer business as head of football negotiations on secondment, had been expected to return to the club on a permanent basis, but he has instead gone back to his law firm Brandsmiths.
Keane came in as a replacement for Matt Judge last June and worked on deals for Casemiro and Antony in the summer, flying to Spain with football director John Murtough to agree terms with the Real Madrid midfielder.
His 11-week placement ended when the window closed, but having been judged to fit in well, talks took place over appointing him to the position full-time.
However, the uncertainty over United’s ownership has altered plans, with some appointments on hold while the Glazer family go through a sale process that could see major changes at Old Trafford. The club are still looking to fill this role between now and the summer window.
Keane has not been involved in United’s work in January, with agents who have placed calls to him on potential targets referred to Murtough, his deputy Andy O’Boyle and head of recruitment operations Steve Brown. His departure also indicates that United were never expecting to do much business in the winter window as they prefer summer windows and also have the potential sale restricting their spending.
It was Murtough together with a group of lawyers and other recruitment staff that completed the loan moves for Wout Weghorst and Jack Butland. Keane has returned to Brandsmiths, where he specializes in the legal side of sporting contracts.
Chelsea very close to signing up for the US tournament
Premier League teams spending pre-season in the US has been happening for a long time, but as revealed by The Athletic last year, those games will have an extra edge this coming summer.
Rather than one-off games, a handful of clubs will be taking place in a tournament and organizers are now confident they have their first ‘Big Six’ team on board.
Chelsea, whose owners are American, are very likely to take part, which is a key breakthrough with other leading teams choosing what they deem to be better options for the summer.
Exact plans, timings and venues for the competition are still being finalized – as are the confirmed teams – but there is confidence that it will come together soon. Tottenham, who toured South Korea last summer, are also considering joining the competition.
Chelsea spent last pre-season in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Orlando and Charlotte. Arsenal, Manchester City, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus were among those who also toured the US ahead of this season, with more than 60,000 fans attending some of the games. British clubs view the US market as key as they look to expand their fan bases and capitalize on the Premier League’s international appeal.
Fresneda to choose between Arsenal and Dortmund
Real Valladolid’s in-demand right-back Ivan Fresneda, 18, will make a decision on his next club on Monday, reports Guillermo Rai.
Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund have both agreed terms for the player, a fee of €15 million ($16.2m; £13.1m), with Fresneda to be loaned back to the Spanish side for the rest of this season.
A full-back who relies a lot on his technical qualities, Fresneda stands out for his good ball control and his aptitude in attack, while rarely showing weakness in his defensive tasks. A host of other clubs had been pursuing the Spain Under-19 international, including Newcastle, who have since dropped out of the race.
Brighton target Matviyenko in London
Brighton & Hove Albion maintained their superb progress under Roberto de Zerbi with a draw at Leicester City on Saturday that saw them climb to sixth place in the table.
It moves them firmly into contention for European qualification, which would be a remarkable achievement for a club who were promoted to the Premier League in 2017 and have not only sold some of their best players but also lost Graham Potter and his staff in September.
Brighton’s rise has shown no sign of abating and De Zerbi hopes the January transfer market is used to keep his side on a positive trajectory.
As this column reported in October, no sooner had De Zerbi arrived at the Amex Stadium than he targeted Shakhtar Donetsk left-sided centre-back Mykola Matviyenko as a potential winter recruit.
Although Brighton were aware of the Ukraine international, he had not been identified via their widely renowned scouting system and instead this was a candidate being pursued by De Zerbi.
Brighton have since inquired about the 26-year-old and while they do not want to pay the €25 million Shakhtar are seeking, De Zerbi is pushing his board to get a deal done.
Matviyenko is currently in London, where he has family, with the Shakhtar squad being given a couple of days off.
The trip is not specifically related to a possible switch, but discussions about reuniting with De Zerbi in England are expected to continue.
The pair worked together at Shakhtar and De Zerbi is keen to strengthen in Matviyenko’s position, a wish that may have heightened following a quadriceps injury suffered by the in-form Levi Colwill.
Colwill joined Brighton on loan from Chelsea and has become a regular starter, but his absence and anticipated return to Stamford Bridge in the summer means reinforcements have been considered and Matviyenko is the candidate De Zerbi would like.
Newcastle like McTominay but won’t get him in January
Newcastle United have held conversations about a January move for Scott McTominay but it is expected any transfer will have to wait until summer, with Manchester United unwilling to sell in this window, writes Laurie Whitwell.
Eddie Howe has been on the lookout for a new midfielder and he admires McTominay’s athleticism and ball-carrying ability.
United were aware of Newcastle’s interest last summer and McTominay has come under consideration again at St James’ Park this winter given the 26-year-old’s status behind Casemiro in Erik ten Hag’s line-ups.
McTominay would be a key midfielder for Howe, while at Old Trafford, players need to be sold to boost Ten Hag’s spending capacity, with UEFA’s financial fair play rules gripping.
Sources insist there will be no sales in the closing days of the window, as there is limited time to reinvest and Ten Hag sees McTominay as a valuable member of his squad.
But given Newcastle’s sustained appreciation of McTominay and the straitened financial picture at United, the situation is set to be reevaluated in summer.