Manchester City would pull off one of the most spectacular transfer windows in football history if they land BOTH Harry Kane and Jack Grealish this summer.
And all the indications are that the Blues are not looking at a case of one or the other of the two England stars. They plan to take both.
The full scale of what chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak meant when he said the Blues would be aggressive and competitive in the transfer market, is becoming apparent.
Landing both would be eased by a major name leaving the Etihad Stadium, with Bernardo Silva and Gabriel Jesus at the head of the “possible departures” list – the problem is finding a club able, in Covid times, to spend the kind of money that City would want for two such talents.
With the cloud of the Premier League’s financial fair play investigation still hanging over the club, and with memories of the 2014 Uefa punishment and the CAS victory that followed a subsequent Uefa ban and fine still raw in the memory, the Blues are keen to avoid any more trouble.
So it would seem that a £200million-plus dive into the market for Kane and Grealish would ultimately be an act of self-harm once the Uefa and Premier League accountants start going through the books.
But the fact is that Chelsea splashed out a British record £233million in the market last summer to bring in Kai Havertz, Timo Werner, Ben Chilwell, Hakim Ziyech and Edouard Mendy.
They recouped around £53million of that by flogging unwanted players, mainly Alvaro Morata and Mario Pasalic, but they showed that a club with smaller revenue than City – by around £65million a year according to the latest financial figures – can spend big without transgressing.
Grealish is set for a £100million move as long as he gives the agreement after returning to training this week, and if Villa don’t decide to play hard-ball, but negotiations for Kane could be more tricky.
Talk that City made a £100million offer for Kane over a week ago has been firmly denied by both clubs, and the Blues took the unusual move of ruling out a reported £160million fee for Kane, saying they would NEVER pay that amount for a player.
But rumours persist that Kane has talked Spurs into agreeing to let him go, and the fact that he did not show up for training at their Enfield base this morning is perhaps a sign of that.
Unless a more innocent explanation occurs, it is almost unthinkable that Kane would sully his reputation at Spurs – and as England captain – by not showing up for training, and so breaking his contract, without seeking permission.
It looks like City won’t be able to sign Harry Kane
(Image: 2021 Visionhaus)
But City have not gone into this with their eyes shut. They have been busy building up a transfer chest this summer, and received a bonus from neighbours Manchester United, whose purchase of Jadon Sanco triggered an £11million payment from Borussia Dortmund for their former academy starlet.
With Jack Harrison (£13million), Lukas Nmecha (£8.5million) and Ivan Ilic (£7million) already adding to a pot lined by Angelino’s £16million move to RB Lepizig, City are already more than halfway to paying for either Kane or Grealish.
Of course, that depends on them nailing down Grealish for around the £100million fee being touted, and bringing in Kane for something close to their own valuation of between £100-120million.
If they pull off both deals, the total would be in the same ballpark as Chelsea spent last year, right in the middle of the lockdown, with all of its financial implications.
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City reported a loss of £126million last year, but they had decided to take the main hit from the loss of revenue during lockdown last season, and expect to have a better outcome in the next financial year.
Once you factor in the sales of fringe players, and the possible departure of a bigger name, the net spend would be a long way down on their own record spend of around £213million, in 2017.
By handing Kane and Grealish long-term contracts, they can also spread the cost over a longer period, which means it would not affect the accounts as much.
City going for Kane and Grealish is not only feasible, it is likely – although it still depends on the actions of the two players this week and the reaction of their clubs.