Opinion: Is Richarlison the answer to life without Harry Kane?

Harry Kane is entering the final 12 months of his Tottenham contract, which means he’ll soon be in control of his own destiny.

Levy is insistent on keeping Kane this summer to help Ange Postecoglou’s new-look Tottenham break back into the top four and potentially win that sought-after trophy (DailyMail).

This could be Levy’s last chance to prove to Kane that he can see out his illustrious career at Spurs, win some trophies, and smash Shearer’s Premier League goal record.

He’s one of our own

One more year of Harry Kane seems to be worth more to Daniel Levy than any potential major fee Spurs would receive for their talisman, as replacing him would be a monumentally expensive challenge, seeing as he’s heralded as the team’s best goalscorer and creator.

In the unlikely scenario that Postecoglou gives Levy his blessing to sell the England captain or Kane hands in a transfer request, what then are the challenges that Tottenham face with replacing one of the greatest players to ever put on the famous Lilywhite shirt?

It’s heavily rumoured that Bayern Munich are making an improved bid for Kane, which is expected to be swiftly rejected by Levy (Telegraph).

Thomas Tuchel has long been an admirer of Harry Kane, as he was quoted in 2021, while manager of Chelsea, saying, “If you find any coach around the world who would not like to have Harry Kane in his team, call me again.”(football.london).

Everything would need to fall into place for this move to happen: Postecoglou’s blessing to lose a key player, Bayern making a significantly improved bid, which satisfies Levy, and Kane’s willingness to relocate his young family to Munich.

I’m sure that Levy might just prefer selling him for a £100m+ fee this summer rather than run the risk of him potentially joining a Premier League rival on a free transfer next year. Let’s say the stars did align for a big money transfer; where does that leave Tottenham without their star man?

Richarlison of Tottenham Hotspur in the tunnel prior to the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United
LONDON, ENGLAND – APRIL 27: Richarlisonu of Tottenham Hotspur in the tunnel prior to the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on April 27, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)

The simple answer is Richarlison

In 2022, Spurs splashed the cash for Brazilian number nine Richarlison who became a Merseyside hero for saving Everton from relegation.

He arrived in North London with great fanfare, anticipation, and expectation; however, he seriously struggled for consistent game time, even taking until late April to score his first Premier League goal, raising significant questions about whether he is the right man to lead a club with heavy ambitions like Tottenham to trophies.

It was a poor season in lily-white for Richarlison, who showed Spurs fans a glimpse of excellence in the famous yellow of Brazil during the winter World Cup, even firing in the goal of the tournament with his stunning bicycle kick against Serbia (FIFA).

Ange Postecoglou’s track record shows that he employs a heavy press to win the ball back high up the field, and one key element of that is his utilisation of the striker.

At Celtic, Ange demanded heavy pressing from his leading frontline in order to make this system work, with his front-positional striker hounding opposition players when they had the ball.

Ange is uncompromising with his philosophy, which means his starting striker needs to have the energy to keep up the pressure.

This isn’t a slight on Kane, however, as he’s proven time and time again to be one of the most versatile players on the planet, scoring and assisting in whatever system he’s asked to play in.

Recently, Kane demonstrated his pressing prowess for England as he worked diligently to win the ball back against North Macedonia, flicking it into Jordan Henderson’s path, who then squared it for the mercurial Marcus Rashford to tap home.

It’s arguable that Richarlison would fit the role of an ‘Ange’ striker far more traditionally than Kane would. Sky Sports also highlights Richarlison’s excellent work ethic in a piece they did back in 2020, where they showcase the Brazilian’s heatmap and tackles across the pitch, demonstrating just how much Richarlison has to offer any team (Sky Sports).

This would translate well into Ange’s Tottenham and would help him achieve his vision for exciting, attacking football.

I believe that reinvesting the Kane fee into the rest of the squad is more of a necessity than trying to lure one of Europe’s top marksmen to Tottenham, as the striker market is currently quite limited and very expensive.

I’m in no way stating that Richarlison is fully capable of filling the gaping hole that a player of Kane’s calibre would leave; however, I’m arguing that for Ange’s system, a frontline of Son and Richarlison would be a lot more fluid and hungry to make up for the goals that Kane would normally score, with Maddison and Kulusevski picking up the creative slack.

Reinvesting the record fee we’d receive from Bayern for Kane could potentially mirror Coutinho’s transfer to Barcelona, as he secured big money for Liverpool, who then reinvested it wisely into a more balanced squad, splashing big on Allison and Virgil Van-Dijk, two crucial areas Liverpool needed world-class upgrades in.

Can we reinvest the fee to address key areas of the squad?

Looking at Spurs’ squad, the goalkeeper situation was addressed with the arrival of Guglielmo Vicario this summer from Empoli, and now it’s the defence’s turn for a revamp.

The big fee for Kane would allow Spurs to move more confidently for top targets, such as securing two top centre-backs as well as two top attacking players, resulting in a more balanced Spurs squad that has a strong emphasis on hard graft, teamwork, and strength in depth.

My choices for arrivals would be Edmond Tapsoba and Micky Van de Ven in the defence department, along with Alex Scott and long-linked target Paulo Dybala, who is rumoured to have a low release clause of just 12 million Euros (Fabrizio Romano).

Tapsoba would bring security and calmness to the backline, complementing the aggressive Romero well. Van de Ven is still raw but is blessed with blistering speed to cope with Ange’s high-line system.

Alex Scott would prove to be the perfect home-grown understudy to Maddison after an impressive season with Bristol City in the Championship, and Paulo Dybala would be the quality depth signing that can play anywhere in the forward line. If his minutes can be managed wisely, he should stay quite healthy.

Life without Kane will certainly hurt. At the end of the day, however, no player is bigger than the mighty Tottenham Hotspur, and we will move on.

Ange has a philosophy that’s in line with our motto, “To Dare is to Do” and that will require the right personnel to be coached into executing it, even without Kane, the Spurs will still go marching in.

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