Reports on Friday that Tottenham had agreed to sell Harry Kane to Manchester City for a British transfer record of £160m were quickly knocked down by the Premier League champions.
But where does this now leave the England captain’s future? BBC Sport’s Simon Stone answers some of the key questions.
Are City Kane’s likeliest destination?
Kane has made it clear he wants to leave Tottenham – and City have always been viewed as his preferred club.
He spoke in glowing terms about Blues playmaker Kevin de Bruyne prior to Euro 2020 and manager Pep Guardiola is known to be interested.
Reports first emerged in May that the 27-year-old might leave Spurs after 17 years, and last month the BBC reported preliminary talks had been held between the two clubs. Sources from both, though, distanced themselves from suggestions an official £100m bid had been lodged by City.But at no point have City attempted to dampen speculation about their pursuit of Kane.
City have also been monitoring Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Braut Haaland, but the German club have ruled out the 21-year-old leaving this summer.
Guardiola’s side are on the lookout for a new striker following the departure of record scorer Sergio Aguero to Barcelona, although they won the title last season while playing much of it without a recognised striker.
Would Spurs really let him leave?
Sources have told BBC Sport that Kane – who has a contract until 2024 – has not handed in an official transfer request or directly communicated a wish to move.
It is understood Kane thinks he has a gentleman’s agreement with Spurs chairman Daniel Levy that would allow him to leave the club this summer.
But that is likely to be tested, amid suggestions Levy is not the kind to be pressured into selling one of his star players.
The Premier League’s top scorer last season is known to be frustrated after another trophyless campaign at Spurs.
Kane, 28 next week, has still not won a trophy for club or country and it is thought he has decided he needs to move to satisfy his professional ambitions.
Last week, new Spurs manager Nuno Espirito Santo was adamant Kane was “our player”, adding: “No need to talk about anything else, I am looking forward to him joining the group.”
And will City pay £160m?
City sources say they will not pay this much.
While they are one of the biggest-spending clubs in the world, the most they have paid for any single player is the fee of about £65m they paid Benfica for centre-back Ruben Dias last summer. Plus Aguero – one of the club’s highest paid players – is now off the wage bill.
Although it is acknowledged getting Kane would involve paying significantly more than that, there are limits which City would not be prepared to go beyond.
City are one of the few clubs who do have some flexibility with their spending, with their financial muscle having shielded them from the worst of the pandemic.
And if you’re wondering about the impact of Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules, Uefa has already decided financial statements for 2020 and 2021 will be rolled up into a single accounting period because of the huge impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
So will he move?
It is too early to say at this stage.
Levy is a fierce negotiator and Kane is a determined young man. Their relationship goes back a long way so it is doubtful they will want to fall out about it.
However, a key component here will be Fabio Paratici, the club’s new managing director of football.
Having joined from Juventus, Paratici has an extensive contacts book as observers at Colchester, for Tottenham’s 3-0 pre-season friendly win on Wednesday, noted when he was almost constantly on his phone.
If he can deliver the right signings – and as crowd favourite Son Heung-min has just committed his long-term future to the club – Spurs may be able to present a future without Kane as one fans will grudgingly accept.
However, one date that is clear to all is 15 August. The Premier League’s opening weekend when Tottenham host Manchester City.
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