Man City want Harry Kane to replace Sergio Aguero

Credit: PA

Manchester City remain determined to sign Harry Kane from Tottenham this summer but have no intention of paying £160 million for the England striker.

Kane is Pep Guardiola’s leading target to replace Sergio Aguero following the Argentina striker’s departure last month after a decade at City.

Spurs have already rebuffed a package worth up to £100m from City for Kane this summer.

The Sun reported that Spurs chairman Daniel Levy told Kane and his brother, Charlie, who also acts as the player’s agent, a week ago that he was now prepared to allow the player to go in a £160m deal.

But City are adamant that they would never pay such a sum for Kane, a figure which is almost £95m more than their current club record purchase. Portugal defender Ruben Dias joined City from Benfica for £65.2m last summer.

City opted against a move for Erling Haaland after realising that it would take an outlandish fee for Borussia Dortmund to consider parting ways with the Norway striker in a summer when the German club were already selling Jadon Sancho to Manchester United.

The Premier League champions are similarly unwilling to do the same for Kane, who is 28 next week, even though they value the player very highly and are still focusing their efforts on trying to buy him rather than pursuing alternatives. 

Levy has a history of driving a hard bargain but selling Tottenham’s star players and City hope Kane proves to be the latest player to fall into that bracket, even if there is a clear limit on what they would be prepared to pay.

Dimitar Berbatov, Luka Modric and Gareth Bale are among the high-profile players Tottenham have ended up selling in the final days of summer transfer windows.

Kane is contracted at Tottenham until June 2024 but Levy is fully aware of the striker’s desire to pursue a new challenge as he enters what he hopes will be his peak years.

Kane claimed in an interview with Gary Neville for The Overlap podcast in May that Tottenham might be wise to sell him this summer with his value never having been higher.

“As players, you don’t know what the chairman’s thinking,” Kane said. “I mean he might want to sell me. He might be thinking, ‘If I can get £100m for you, then why not? You know what I mean. I’m not going to be worth that for the next two or three years’.”

As well as Kane, City hope to sign his England team-mate Jack Grealish from Aston Villa this summer in a deal that is expected to cost £100m.

Although City stand to raise around £100m in transfer income this summer without a first-team player leaving, the club needs to sell someone to accommodate space on the wage bill and in the squad for Kane and Grealish.

Aguero’s departure has already taken £250,000 a week off the wage bill and Eric Garcia has also left for Barcelona but that alone is not enough.

Bernardo is thought to be interested in a move to Barcelona and could be the most likely candidate to make way but there are questions around who could afford a fee of £50m to £60m for the Portugal midfielder.

Barcelona have financial problems and there are few clubs in Europe who could stump up such a fee this summer given how finances have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

England forward Raheem Sterling is due to be offered a new contract by City and Brazil striker Gabriel Jesus is expecting to stay for now. Winger Riyad Mahrez has entered the final two years of his contract at City but said last week that he wants to stay. Aymeric Laporte, the Spain defender, is another whose future has been the subject of some debate.