What will Harry Kane’s legacy be? Will it be that of a one team captain who broke Prem scoring records, but won nothing? Or will it be that of one of his generation’s best strikers who had to force a move to finally win?
In the pantheon of modern footballing stars, Harry Kane occupies a weird place. A loyal mercurial talent who has seen his career be surpassed by his peers while nearing records.
Kane’s loyalty to Tottenham is impressive given how often players switch clubs in this modern era. Going from an unheralded prospect to Alan Shearer’s modern equivalent, Kane’s career serves as an inspiration for youngsters. There is an argument to be made that the personal achievements Kane has achieved can rival any team success.
However, at this point, Kane is no longer the star of Tottenham, as his numbers have begun a slow decline. At the same time, the London side has seen no trophies come their way despite Kane’s best efforts. It begs the question, does Kane need a trophy to achieve the recognition fans think he deserves?
As he enters the twilight of his prime, more questions will be asked of Kane’s legacy. It’s one that is interesting to fans, but likely not to Kane who has clearly overachieved.
When Kane exploded onto the scene in the mid 2010s, there was insane optimism for what the youngster could achieve. Dreams of a Shearer or Rooney-like career filled the heads of Tottenham fans.
In his, now, 10 seasons in the Prem, the Englishman has scored 201 Premier League goals. To put this into perspective, he will likely pass Rooney in second by the end of this season. Given the rate he’s banging them in at, Kane will almost surely pass Shearer’s 260 goals by the time his career is over.
To further cement his case as one of his generation’s top scorers, Kane will be topping the English scoring charts at the next international break. Only Lewandowski, Ronaldo and Messi have been able to shatter their countries’ records like Kane has. Just as his career has matched Tottenham’s rise, Kane’s excellence has mirrored England’s return to global relevance.
At the same time, it’s almost impossible to separate the man from his club. Kane’s ascendancy to superstardom coincided perfectly with Tottenham’s emergence as a top club.
Tottenham’s decades of malaise started to be eased as both Kane and Dele Alli broke onto the scene. While Alli would eventually regress, Kane pushed the Spurs to success with his ability to score with just about any chance that fell his way. Constantly putting away 25+ goals a season with his club finishing in the top 6 made Kane a legend in the eyes of so many.
While it’s premature to call Tottenham finished, it shouldn’t stop fans from appreciating the success the club has seen with Kane as their leader. A Champions League final appearance and some real title races have lifted Tottenham from a London punching bag to a real force. It’s impossible to conceive of a world where this happens without Kane.
Should he end his career with his boyhood club, Kane will go down as one of the Prem’s greatest scorers. A one club man who pushed his club to insane heights while earning the respect of fans across the globe is nothing to scoff at.
Fairly or not, legends are judged by what they win. Higuaín will never be seen in the same light as Lewandowski or Suárez despite having a peak that rivaled the two of them.
The culture of an adherence to lifting players who win over those who don’t can often be truly toxic. In no way should Thiago Silva have waited until he won a Champions League title to be recognized as one of this era’s best defenders. Unfortunately this is the conundrum that Kane has fallen into.
Stay at Tottenham and win nothing or leave for a winning side, but treated as a glory hunter, there is no real winning. Unless the player wins and wins a lot, like how Suárez transformed his image when he left for Barça. While he may not be a one club legend, Suárez is now widely regarded as one of this era’s best players and none of that would have happened had he stayed at Liverpool.
At the same time, Kane’s star is starting to diminish at Tottenham and in the Prem. Looking back at Spurs’ historic run to the Champions League final, Kane was never truly the star. In recent seasons, Son has replaced him as Tottenham’s star player and Richarlison definitely feels like he could unseat Kane.
In the Prem, Kane’s position as one of the league’s best is up in the air even more. Haaland is already the league’s star striker while Salah is, on his day, the best player. At this point in his career, Kane can no longer be a team’s star player, but he can still be an integral part of a winning team.
It may be tough for Tottenham fans to accept, but if Kane wants to secure his spot as a legend, he has to leave for greener pastures. However, this may bring even more detractors, leaving him in a true no man’s land.
Casting a player’s legacy while they’re still in their prime is a fool’s errand. There is so much that can change in the span of a season or two. However, that will never stop people from casting their own beliefs on great players.
Featured image: Getty