Maybe it will happen.
Maybe Manchester City will stump up the cash Tottenham want. Maybe Daniel Levy will relent and allow his club’s talisman to leave to a direct Premier League rival. Maybe Harry Kane will arrive in Manchester, adding the league’s best striker to the league’s best squad.
Maybe the Blues will then go on to retain the Premier League at a canter and finally get their hands on the Champions League trophy.
But then again, maybe not.
With just three days until City get their title defence under way in a perfect slice of irony at Tottenham — and then another 18 days before the transfer window closes — it is becoming increasingly likely that the club won’t get their man this summer.
The principal aim of the window for City has been to sign a star striker in order to replace Sergio Aguero. The club have been budgeting and building the squad with perfect planning for years to be in a position to spend heavily on one this summer.
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Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak even explicitly laid out the aim in his end of season interview, saying: “We lose a very important legend in Sergio Aguero, very hard shoes to fill, but I’m confident we will find the right player to fill those shoes.”
Even back at the start of June, it seemed strange for City to nail their colours to the mast so publicly, setting themselves up for disappointment if they fail to land a striker.
The £100million signing of Jack Grealish will of course offset some disappointment, but it’s easy to see there being some discontent among supporters if the club fails to bring in a new striker after letting their all-time record scorer depart for nothing.
And it really could happen.
Kane has played his card by making his discontent at Spurs even clearer with his late return to training, but it has backed Levy into a corner. If he sells Kane now it would be clear to any other wantaway star that all they need to do to get their way is stomp their feet, have a sulk and they will get their way.
England’s captain still has three years on his contract at Spurs. As a result, the club are under no pressure to sell and can demand simply ludicrous money for his services. Fees between £130-160million have been touted and it’s difficult to see City stumping up so much cash, especially so soon after breaking the British transfer record.
So what should City do over the next year if they fail to sign Kane this summer? Well, there’s no need to jump straight to panic stations.
It must be remembered that Aguero spent most of last season on the sidelines and had next to no impact on the title triumph.
The Premier League title will likely be much harder to win this time around, though, especially as Chelsea are set to bring in the prolific Romelu Lukaku and Manchester United have added goals in Jadon Sancho and will be looking not to ship as many with the arrival of Raphael Varane.
But City will still have the highest amount of quality players and more strength in depth than anyone else in the league, which has allowed them to go deep in so many competitions for years now. Pep Guardiola’s side won the league by 12 points last season, with a 21 point lead over Chelsea.
The London club may well be able to make up that gap with Thomas Tuchel in charge from the off, and they do have a psychological advantage over City following the Champions League final triumph, but it would still be a big undertaking.
If a striker doesn’t come in before the window closes, then the forthcoming season will be Gabriel Jesus’ time to prove he is ready to make the step up.
The Brazilian has always been understanding of his role as Aguero’s understudy but has been desperate to stand out of his shadow. If given the chance, he will have to make sure he isn’t blinded by the light.
Hopes that Gabriel Jesus could replace Sergio Aguero as a goalscorer extraordinaire are looking forlorn
(Image: Matt McNulty – Manchester City/Manchester City FC via Getty Images)
Jesus has been a very good player in recent years and it’s easy to forget he’s still just 24, with plenty of room to improve. But he averaged a goal just every 204.6 minutes last season, which will need to increase if he wants to make the spot his own for good.
But even if Jesus provides another solid-if unspectacular 14 goals, the good thing for City is they spread the goals around the team last season. Some 16 players found the back of the net at least once for City in the last campaign, with seven of them reaching double figures — 15 goals were even provided by defenders.
So while a clinical finisher like Kane would be welcome, especially for the biggest moments, it’s not as though City are lacking in goals.
Besides Jesus, there are also plenty more players who can operate through the middle. Raheem Sterling looks rejuvenated following his Euro 2020 campaign and proved he can still score when it matters most. He and Ferran Torres have proven capable of being able to stretch defences through the middle by running beyond the last man.
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Whereas the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva have all been deployed in a false nine position to great effect, a role that Grealish would no doubt also be able to play.
With so much flexibility, Guardiola will still have plenty of options to field lethal attacks next season if Kane doesn’t arrive.
Following the conclusion of the season, depending on how City have performed and what they have done, they can then assess and see if a new striker is still needed.
If it is, then it will likely be back to the same shortlist. Kane would have a year less on his contract and Spurs won’t be in such a strong position, making a sale more likely and probably at cheaper price.
Erling Haaland of Borussia Dortmund
(Image: Harry Langer/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)
But even more intriguing is that Erling Haaland’s reported release clause comes into effect, which is said to be priced at €75million. A relative bargain.
The Norwegian sensation is much younger than Kane, has a connection to the club through his father and is looking just as ruthless in the box, so City could well turn their attentions to him instead.
So if worst comes to worst and City can’t get their man this summer, it certainly isn’t the end of the world.