Nuno Espirito Santo will take charge of Tottenham in the Premier League for the very first time on Sunday when Man City visit the capital.
Winning three of his five pre-season friendlies since taking on the job, including last weekend’s 1-0 win over Arsenal, Spurs will go into their first league game in buoyant mood following an impressive performance against their north London rivals.
However, Harry Kane’s future will be the main talking point ahead of the encounter amid Man City’s interest in luring him to the Etihad Stadium.
Already parting with £100million to sign Jack Grealish from Aston Villa, Pep Guardiola’s team now need to bring in a striker and the England captain is the man they are after.
A transfer saga that will likely rumble on right until the transfer deadline at the end of August, Tottenham are intent on keeping hold of the 28-year-old and it would take a huge offer to turn Daniel Levy’s head.
Not the ideal situation for Espirito Santo to find himself in so soon after taking on the hotseat, Glenn Hoddle, speaking exclusively to football.london, believes it will be much better for the new man once the Kane scenario is solved one way or another.
“I think he’ll be relatively pleased with how he’s settled in,” said the former Spurs boss when asked about Espirito Santo’s first month in charge. “With the team obviously the full squad, like many clubs, he’s not going to be able put together yet so he’s going to have to be patient a little bit.
“I think there’s been some decent results and I’m sure they’ve been working on performances.
“Pre-season is very difficult to judge sometimes as a manager, it really is. I’ve experienced awful pre-seasons as a player and a manager and then we end up top of the league after three games and vice versa.
“I think he’ll be very pleased with getting his feet under the table and going into the market a little bit.
“Obviously the Harry Kane scenario is still over everyone’s head there and the quicker that gets resolved one way or another the better for him.
“I think he’ll be happy with where he’s at.”
Expected to return to Hotspur Way on Monday, August 2, to undertake his Covid test and do blood work ahead of the pre-season campaign, it wasn’t until Saturday when Kane was at the club’s Enfield base, with the player confirming 24 hours earlier that he would be back “as planned”.
Needing to isolate at The Lodge following his recent break in the Bahamas and Florida, the 28-year-old will be clear to join group training on Friday ahead of the Man City game providing that he returns a negative coronavirus test.
It will then be down to Espirito Santo to decide whether or not to include him in his plans for the City game.
Hoddle doesn’t believe Kane will be involved and has claimed it would be “disastrous” to throw him in at the deep end given the quick turnaround.
“No, I think he’s probably not going to be in the squad because of football reasons and fitness-wise he needs that little bit of turning after having a good rest,” he revealed.
“I think it would be disastrous to throw him straight in at the deep end, whether he was playing for Tottenham or Man City ironically.
“I think he needs a little bit more time to get up to speed. You could put him on offer for a nasty injury actually as don’t forget he’s been isolating and all sorts of things.
“I don’t imagine him being part of the setup for Sunday’s match, no.”
While it may look a straightforward deal to many people if City stump up the amount of money that could change Levy’s mind, Hoodle believes that it actually isn’t so simple.
“I think it’s pretty obvious he wants to go and I think City are interested in him. I think that’s the case but I don’t know if the deal will go through because of three years [contract], because maybe the exchange of players from City to Tottenham might not be something that can be worked in within the deal,” said the BT Sport pundit.
“I’m outside looking in, but I imagine it’ll be difficult for any City player to leave City and go to Tottenham at this moment in time.
“The package of the deal might not suit Tottenham or it might not suit City players if there’s an exchange plus money.
“I think there’s a long way to go actually. It’s not a simple deal.
“I wouldn’t blame Harry if he goes, but as a Spurs man I’m hoping he stays and I’ve got everything crossed he stays. No one would begrudge him for moving at the moment.”
Busy in the transfer market so far this summer with three new arrivals in the capital, Fabio Paratici still has plenty to do ahead of the transfer deadline as he looks to rebuild the Spurs squad.
Carlos Vinicius’ return to Benfica after his loan spell has left Tottenham needing another striker, and that’s even before a possible summer exit for Kane.
Topping the Premier League charts last season for goals and assists with 23 and 14 respectively, it’s going to be incredibly hard to replace the frontman if he does head north to Manchester at some point over the next couple of weeks.
“I don’t think you can replace him. You can’t replace him.” admitted Hoddle. “I think Danny Ings would’ve been an interesting one as I think they probably need a couple of strikers but he’s gone to Aston Villa. I don’t think there’s one outstanding one.
“The problem Spurs find at the moment I suppose is that they won’t be able to just reach into the market and go ‘we’ll have him or we’ll have him.’
“I think we’re going to have to rebuild a squad and rebuild getting back into the Champions League if we’re going to be able to pick and choose which player we want. That makes it even more difficult, it really does.
“Unfortunately there isn’t somebody who realistically will walk straight into that Tottenham squad.
“I think it’s going to have to be a rebuild of the team and I don’t see anyone coming through the ranks who’s going to replace Harry, or not replace him but to be a striker who will start to score goals at that level. It wouldn’t be fair on those youngsters as they don’t have enough experience yet.”
New Hope. Be part of it all. BT Sport www.bt.com/sport
Source by Football London